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Lakers fan confidence drops to season-low as playoffs approach

Lakers fans: Are you okay?

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/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.

Too often in this community, we ask “whaaaaaaaaat’s up Laker fans?”, when we should spend more time asking “how are you doing, Lakers fans?”

Because seriously: Are you all doing okay? Is everything good? Because according to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey we ran, just 33% of you are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 90% last week and 91% the week before, and is the least confident this fanbase has been in the team this season.

The chart my bosses made literally looks like this community’s collective vitals just flatlined:

I know things are tough right now, with LeBron James’ ankle still bothering him with just seven games to go until the playoffs, Dennis Schröder likely to miss the rest of the regular season and Anthony Davis only just starting to round into form; but hey, there have been at least some positives!

After all, Marc Gasol looked like a solid matchup for likely MVP Nikola Jokic this week, Davis says he’s feeling healthy and getting his legs under him, and the Lakers got a huge win over the Nuggets to look like they’re starting to get back on track. They also appear to be figuring out their rotation at center. There are some things to feel good about!

But look, I get it. Los Angeles, like every other team in the league, is working through a non-stop schedule to end the season. And with the end of the regular season scheduled for May 16, Lakers fans aren’t alone in cursing the league office for this blight of a season.

More than two-thirds of fans around the NBA think the league condensed the schedule too much:

One major reason it’s believed the league was so adamant on finishing this early is because of the expected 2021 Olympics this summer. However, only 44% of fans believe that’s a worthy reason for playing games at this pace, and that honestly feels high.

But while the schedule has been difficult for everyone, some teams are having more success than others. That’s in large part due to the success of star players around the league. This year’s MVP race has seen a changing group of players from start to finish, with LeBron’s injuries costing him a spot.

As the season nears its end, though, one player has emerged as the front-runner for the award. 61% of fans nationally think Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokić should win MVP. Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul was the next closest with 17%.

LeBron took just 2% of the vote, not enough to even end up on the chart:

But while Jokić appears to be the clear MVP, that doesn’t mean he’s considered the best player in the game right now. That title, according to fans, still goes to James, who was selected by 27% of NBA fans:

But Paul’s re-emergence with the Suns has been a game-changer. The point guard was picked as the player who has made the biggest difference on their new team, far surpassing Brooklyn’s James Harden.

Do you agree with the results? How down are you feeling about this year’s team? Let us know in the comments below, and 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.

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