It is Now or Never for the Lakers

After last night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers’ record has fallen to 29-31 with 22 games remaining. The Lakers are 1-2 coming out of the All-Star break having defeated the Houston Rockets, but losing to the New Orleans Pelicans before last night.

Prior to Lebron James’ injury that kept him out of the lineup for 17 games, the Lakers’ record stood at 20-14 and they were the four seed. They went 6-11 with the 15-time All-Star sidelined.

USP NBA: LOS ANGELES LAKERS AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES S BKN MEM LAL USA TN

Feb 25, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-385552 ORIG FILE ID: 20190225_pjc_fb1_031.JPG

Since his return, the Lakers have gone 3-6.  There is no doubt the Lakers should be concerned about the possibility of missing the playoffs fior a sixth straight year.

As a team, the Lakers have not played well since before the trade deadline when many players heard their names publicy mentioned in trade rumors to the New Orleans Pelicans for All-Star power forward Anthony Davis. This would give James another superstar that could help entice a third star to come to the Lakers this summer as a max contract free agent.

anthony davis

The trade that never happened is still having ripple effects on the court for the Lakers.

When every young draft picks’ names were mentioned in the trade for Davis, I can see why.

According to multiple sources, the Lakers offered Brandom Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo, two first round picks, and taking on Solomon Hill and the remaining 12.8 million left on his Pelicans’ contract. Pelicans’ GM Will Demps asked for a minimum four first round picks and four second round picks for starters and talks broke off from there.

ingram

Lakers’ president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, along with GM Rob Pelinka, brought in stretch 5 Mike Muscala and sharp shooter Reggie Bullock as minor upgrades just before the trade deadline. But, the fact that so many players named in trade rumors remained in Los Angeles after the deadline has brought a dark cloud to the team.

While Johnson believes the NBA is a business and players should have no room for hurt feelings after being mentioned in trade rumors, this is easier said than done.

After James brought his talents to LA last July, Ingram, Kuzma, and Ball all figured to be important pieces that would team with James to bring another championship to Laker Nation.

kuzma

Many expected this to be a playoff year, but the Lakers to be contending for a championship in a few years with Ingram, Kuzma, and Ball important pieces to the team.

Let’s keep in mind that Kuzma is 23, and both Ingram and Ball are 21. Each has shown glimpses of being a future superstar before James arrived. Shouldn’t playing with Lebron take their games to another level?

lonzo

How are these players supposed to put aside the fact Lebron and management felt the future of the franchise would be better served with them in another city? Will they be offered up again this summer?

Once again, it appears King James is attempting to blow up a team so he can bring in players he feels compliment his own game.

This team was doing well before James’ injury. Had Magic and Lebron not attempted to trade away its core, the team would be rattling off victories rather than having their playoff chances go down quicker than the Titanic.

Now, James is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since his second season in the league. Last night, James had this to say following the loss to the Grizzlies.

“At this point if you are still allowing distractions to affect how the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come and be like, ‘Listen, I don’t [think this is for me]. I cannot do this’.”

James makes a great point. The trade deadline has come and gone and many of these players remain. It is now time to put feelings aside and be professionals where these young players can gain valuable playoff stretch experience. If the Lakers are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, the team can acquire further training needed to move towards wining a future NBA championship.

The team should have an open meeting and get all these feelings behind them. Lebron needs to be the leader he is and admit his defense has left a lot to be desired. He cannot just be the man on the offensive end. The king has carried teams with less talent, albeit he was younger. His legacy will take a hit if he cannot rally this extremely talented team to the playoffs.

And that’s as I see it!

Follow my As I See It blog at http://Scottdm71.com

Twitter handle: @Mikulski_Scott

Like As I See It on Facebook

#ROC

Photo credits: Magic Johnson (Washington Post),  Lebron (USA Today), Davis (Sportingnews.com), Ingram (Silverscreenandroll.com), Kuzma (Silverscreenandroll.com), Ball (Sportingnews.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Golfing With Lapo

Official Site

Joshuakenene's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: