The NBA season has been full of surprises and for some, that includes LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. There were analysts ahead of the season who felt this wasn't an NBA playoffs-worthy squad. However, the team has managed to stay within the middle of the top eight teams in the Western Conference. While LeBron James is a large part of that success, he recently named the two players on the roster he feels are MVPs.

Lakers' current outlook

Last season was somewhat disappointing for fans of the purple and gold. The team finished outside the playoffs, despite bringing in promising rookie Lonzo Ball and also seeing the emergence of fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma. However, the offseason brought them the top player in the league today, as LeBron signed up to become a Laker.

The current Los Angeles Lakers team has an overall record of 20-16, which is just a notch below the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.

L.A. is also on a two-game losing streak as they've been without LeBron due to a groin injury he suffered against Golden State.

The team dropped recent games to the Clippers and Kings. The latter of those two was due to a buzzer-beating shot in a 117-116 loss. Still, it's hard not to argue that having LeBron James on this team is what has led to much of their success through the young season. The good news is that LeBron is due back.

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That gives the L.A. Lakers and their fans a rather optimistic outlook for a spot in the playoffs as a disruptive team out West. They'll have to stay healthy in order to do that, so if they can, watch out.

LeBron's MVPs might surprise fans

LeBron James recently commented on what drives this team's success. Following one of the Lakers' recent losses, he pointed out two players he feels are the MVPs: JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler.

Those two players man the middle as either a starter or backup center, depending on the game.

Right now, Chandler has been available, while McGee hasn't. The former Golden State Warriors player has been dealing with illness including three days of hospitalization for pneumonia and flu-like symptoms. Not having him as part of the Lakers rotation has certainly shown how it can hurt their success. Chandler also missed at least a game with back spasms.

James told the media "I continue to say our team is built on depth and energy." He added after the Lakers' loss that both of the big men were out and then, "They've been our MVPs so far for this season."

Lakers' injuries costing team wins lately

It's typical LeBron fashion to defer praise to his teammates rather than himself. However, most NBA fans all realize that he is the driving force for the roster.

James had the Lakers within the top four teams in the Western Conference ahead of his recent injury. Once he returns, it should be interesting to see how the team progresses. They still aren't quite seeing the type of returns they originally expected from last year's No. 2 pick in his sophomore season.

They'll want McGree back soon, as LeBron is out for Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings. They're also without veteran guard Rajon Rondo indefinitely. He was clearly among the reasons the team kept it together against the Warriors on Christmas Day for a statement victory. Rondo stepped up when LeBron had to exit due to injury. He's not there at the moment to help, but possibly he is a close MVP candidate if he was around to show what he can do.

Piling up too many losses while James recovers could make things tougher on this team come playoff time. A fourth or better spot would bring home court advantage in at least the first round to L.A. It will also bring further attention to the Lakers' cause of getting Anthony Davis as a teammate. Are McGee and Chandler the Lakers' MVPs so far this season, or should another player or two get mentioned? Does Kyle Kuzma deserve some credit too?

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