The Los Angeles Lakers are entering the new month as the best team in the NBA. But while they are considered as legitimate title contenders already by their record, most analysts are still not convinced if the showing they had after 20 games is worthy of the early hype.

According to Daniel Lubofsky of Fansided’s Hoops Habit, the Lakers will have to ace the final month of the year to prove that the early success is born by the authenticity of their championship pedigree as a team, and not by fortune of having a lighter schedule compared to the rest of the league.

“Having beaten up an easy early-season schedule, how the Los Angeles Lakers perform in December will tell us something about the heights they can reach,” Lubofsky said.

The Lakers had easy pickings during the first months of the new season, especially in November where they faced 12 teams under .500. They went on to win all of those 12, and 14 out of 15 assignments of the month.

December is not off to a good start, though, for Lebron James and the Lakers after they got tripped by Luka Doncic and the Mavs on Sunday at the Staples Center, 114-100. Looking ahead, the mettle of the Purple and Gold will be put to a real test as nine of their next 13 games will be against playoff teams from last season and a five-game road trip at East Coast.

Lobofsky gave credit to the Lakers showing from the previous month, having recorded the best tally for the said duration since the Kobe-Shaq years. However, he emphasized that the real barometer to test if a team is really primed for a championship is beating those up there.

“Being a great team includes the handling of business against sub-par squads, but more important are the games against potential playoff foes that serve as a championship measuring stick,” he said.

The loss to the Mavs was a reality check, and perhaps a wake-up call for Frank Vogel and his troops according to most fans. The Lakers will face West’s No. 2 Denver Nuggets next.

“Dallas provided a much-needed reality check. Now it’s time for the Lakers to respond with the perfect platform finally in front of them.”

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after passing Michael Jordan and moving to #4 on the NBA's all-time scoring list during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on March 06, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Robert Laberge/Getty Images