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Lakers fans’ confidence on the rise as playoffs approach

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Lakers exceptionalism is slowly rising again with the play-in tournament and NBA playoffs on the horizon.

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Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Los Angeles Lakers fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

Last week, the collective confidence of this fanbase had hit a season-low after the Lakers lost six times in eight games. Things didn’t get much better with two more losses right after that, but it appears that Anthony Davis rounding into form and three straight wins have been enough to start a slight turnaround in how we’re all feeling at Silver Screen and Roll.

According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, 65% of Lakers fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s up from 33% last week, but still down from 90% two weeks ago.

And to be fair, there are still things to be concerned about. It’s not yet a certainty that LeBron James will play in either of the team’s two final games of the regular season, and Anthony Davis’ groin was bothering him enough to sit out of the team’s recent win. The team is obviously in part just being careful with their two stars, but with a likely play-in game approaching, there are still valid reasons to worry at least a little bit, even if it appears the team will also be getting reinforcements soon.

But as the playoffs approach, not everyone around the NBA is feeling so lukewarm. The biggest surprise of the season is likely the success of the New York Knicks. For the first time since 2013, the Knicks have reached the postseason, and they did so with the original Baby Laker leading the way.

The Knicks have formed a real identity, with our old friend Julius Randle and head coach Tom Thibodeau leading the way. Both men look set to be rewarded for their efforts, as 69% of fans around the league believe Randle should win the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award. The next closest player, Michael Porter Jr., received just 11% of the vote.

If Randle wins, he would be the second Lakers lottery pick in a row to win the award. Brandon Ingram won it last year with the New Orleans Pelicans. We love to see the young guys thriving.

And speaking of the Knicks, 50% of national fans believe Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams took 23% of the vote.

To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.