How 'easy' has the Lakers' schedule been?
LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis (right) celebrate for the Lakers.
Photo via ESPN

The first way to explore the scheduling is a mathematical one, looking at a statistic which is underused but incredibly accurate, Strength of Schedule (SOS).

First, the stat from Basketball Reference. This stat uses both the opponent's rating and the location to come up with a reliable end product. This site ranks the Lakers as having the ninth easiest schedule in the league.

ESPN's statistics have a slightly different way to measure SOS, incorporating records of opponents and opponents' opponents. This creates a slightly less accurate measure than Basketball Reference, and one in which the Lakers rank as the league's equal 10th easiest schedule.

Sagarin's and Massey's ratings have the Lakers as the 10th and 11th easiest overall also.

So far this has shown that while the Lakers have a fairly easy schedule, the cries of 'easiest schedule in the league' are well overblown. But this is not all that must be done. Now it is time for our own practical investigation.

The Lakers have lost three games. Those games came at home to both Toronto and Dallas and to the Clippers 'away'. These three teams were both in great form when they came across them, and are all currently seeded in the top 5 of their respective conferences. But how many top 5 teams have the Lakers beaten? 

Dallas. Miami. Denver. That certainly doesn’t look too good for them, but what about playoff teams? 7 teams, including the aforementioned 3. That also does not bode well for the Lakeshow. In comparison though, Milwaukee (also 22-3), have beaten only 8 playoff teams, which does look a lot brighter for Los Angeles. The Bucks also have a very similar SOS to L.A. around most websites, which starts a whole new narrative. 

To conclude, the Los Angeles Lakers have had an easy schedule, yes, but so have the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that has been on the Lakers heels all season. This team is great, and an slightly easy schedule doesn’t change that. 

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