LEBRON'S STORYBOOK ARRIVAL IN LA TURNING INTO A NIGHTMARE?!?
IT is officially time to panic for L.A. Laker fans (if they haven't already 😨) The struggles continue for the Los Angeles Lakers in Lebron’s first season. They dropped a contest to the lowly Hawks (19-38) in Atlanta Monday night 117-113. Trae Young and John Collins led the way for the Hawks with 22 points apiece. Despite LeBron James recording a triple double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 16 assists), the Lakers still could not pull out the win. They now sit under .500 at 28-29, 3 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference behind fellow Staples Center tenants, the Clippers. The All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for this splintered group. Maybe they can regroup and make a a solid run, but all signs are indicating that the failed attempt to land Anthony Davis and the associated trade implications may have fractured this team beyond repair.
Naturally, there was a great deal of uncertainty for the Lakers heading into the season despite adding the league’s best player in James. They were only a 35-win team the season before and most of the same core young players that comprised the team were slated for major roles this season. In addition, the Lakers signed a number of free agent veterans with spotty clubhouse reputations i.e. Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley into the mix causing many media pundits to question if there would be inherent chemistry issues. Also factor in the question if Lonzo Ball would rebound from a relatively underwhelming rookie year to show the Lakers he was worth his selection as the #2 overall pick in last year’s draft. Lastly, of course, there was the uncertainty surrounding Luke Walton’s job as coach, Lavar Ball’s outspoken criticism of him and the rumors that club president Magic Johnson may have had interest in someone else coaching the new-look squad.
In any case, the Lakers have endured a tumultuous season to say the least and it has hit a low point after they and the Pelicans could not come to an agreement on a trade for Anthony Davis. The proposed deals which essentially included all the core young players in many variations appears to have had an effect on the mindset and play. Granted, many thought the Lakers had turned the corner after an outstanding comeback and buzzer beater victory on the road over the Celtics last week, 129-128, however, the loss to the Hawks killed any momentum from that victory.
The Lakers have 25 games to right their ship and make a run at a playoff berth. Some would argue why make a playoff push to just get swept out in the first round by the Warriors? Would it be more beneficial for the Lakers to miss on the playoffs and take their chances with a lottery pick? In my opinion, anytime you have such a core group of young players, any playoff experience is a great spring board for the next season, so let’s see if the purple and gold can make their way to the postseason.