Creepy and mediocre Los Angeles Lakers should have seen this coming | Los Angeles Lakers

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At 37 years old Lebron James Has one of the best seasons of his 18-year NBA career.

The Los Angeles Lakers Stars averaged 28.8 points (most since 2009-10), 7.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 33 games this season, 51.7% from the field, 3 to 36.4% and 75.4% from the free throw line, all. Beyond his career. average. After a relatively late start and an abdominal injury that set him aside in the next eight games, James was an MVP level player in his last 15 games, averaging 33 / with a 53/37/75 shoot split. 9/6, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks.

Still, the Lakers, who entered the season as a title candidate, are 15 months away from the victory. NBA Championship – Season is 22-23, 6-9 in the same range. They are currently ranked 8th in the Western Conference rankings and will be firmly ranked in the Play-in Tournament if the season ends today.

To make matters worse, the Lakers have experienced a civil war with head coach Frank Vogel. Reportably about the hot seats fighting for his work, And stubbornly proud of Russell Westbrook It is put on the bench at once Of their recent home loss to Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Vogel described Westbrook’s benching as follows: Westbrook said he was “disappointed” with the decision, but is determined to understand it with the Lakers. Towards the ultimate goal, as much as possible, it is to win the championship. “

But are Vogel and Westbrook really responsible for the Lakers struggle this season? Or was the composition of this team destined from the beginning?

To be fair, the Lakers have disappeared from the 28-year-old giant Anthony Davis.Anthony Davis missed 15 games and is counting MCLs sprained on his left knee, but may come back Immediately this week.. But now the Lakers didn’t win the world before Davis’ injury, Davis shot the ball (3 to 17.9%), and James and Westbrook struggled to jointly provide the space they needed. The season lineup was 13-14 with Davis. -Existence.

Obviously, the Lakers problem goes beyond the injuries and seizures caused by Covid-19. All NBA teams have been working this season. In reality, the problem goes back to the off-season. The Lakers front office was headed by general manager Rob Perinka and undoubtedly advised by (assistant GM) LeBron James.And the player Much older In the league, the average age is 30.0.

Add some past prime stars, including Carmelo Anthony (37), Dwight Howard (36), Trevor Ariza (36), DeAndre Jordan (33), and less so Westbrook (33). So the Lakers Youth trends across the league In favor of veterans. However, these veterans are struggling to perform, especially at the defensive end of the floor, which contributes to the Lakers’ 20th-place defense.

In addition, when the Lakers were young, they seemed to make a serious mistake and re-signed the unproven but promising 21-year-old combo guard Talen Horton-Tucker for a three-year, $ 31 million deal. I chose to do that (instead of having spent the first four seasons with the Lakers and holding what was proven by the perfectly fitted 27-year-old shooting guard Alex Caruso besides James, the final year player option).Horton-Tucker was disappointed and inefficient this season, but Caruso, who signed a modest four-year $ 37 million deal (including a partially guaranteed final year) with the Chicago Bulls this offseason, is a fact. A drive that was excellent and helped in all the statistics categories above Pleasant bulls to the top Of the Eastern Conference.

But all the biggest mistakes were Westbrook trade. After advancing to 42-30 last season, it was a disappointing record at the time, but now I will do anything. The Lakers shook the fence by trading Kyle Kusma, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the 22nd pick. In the 2021 NBA Draft to Washington Wizards in Westbrook.

Indeed, the 2017 NBA MVP had a great second half of the season with Wizards. There, he (and Bradley Beal) finished the team 18-7 and won the eighth seed. Averaging 23/14/14 (!) 45/33/74 Shooting split. But Westbrook has always had a clunky fit other than James (and, to a lesser extent, Davis). He is one of the most exciting and athlete point guards ever playing the game, but in the end he is a non-shooter and the ball in his hand to succeed. Taking the ball out of James’s hand to accommodate Westbrook probably didn’t make sense for the NBA to be the greatest on-ball player ever seen.

In addition, Westbrook’s trade made the Lakers financially inflexible and lost meaningful assets.

As one of the NBA’s highest paid players, Westbrook will make $ 44 million this season (and $ 47 million next year). This forced the Lakers to fill in the minimum wage contract on the rest of the roster. The end of their career.

Obviously, the Lakers made a swing and missed. But they haven’t been beaten up yet. After all, this is the Lakers we’re talking about, and the usual rules don’t apply to the NBA’s most compelling franchises. It also doesn’t apply to teams led by James, who is relentlessly chasing the fifth ring.

Davis will be back soon, and Vogel will try to work the Westbrook-James-Davis trio as long as he is in the coaching chair. Fortunately, the Lakers are very good when these three people share a court, and even better when they share without a traditional center, with 12.2 points per 100 possessions in these lineups. It exceeds the opponent. The Lakers are already using 21 different starting lineups, and the five most used lineups are playing, so it’s important to build continuity later in the season. Only 68 minutes together, All other NBA teams have played together for at least 100 minutes in at least one lineup.

Still, the roster is either unbalanced or not deep enough to run on the titles currently being built. And that’s what they’re trying to do given that two of their three best players are 33 and 37 years old and the other has a history of injury problems. is. In other words, now is the time.

The Lakers have little way to improve their roster prior to the February 10 trading deadline. Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and the first round of 2027 will select the only real assets that can be traded. However, they run with influential interactive players such as Jerami Grant in Detroit and Harrison Barnes in Sacramento. It is unclear if they have enough assets to make significant transactions.

The Lakers are about to embark on a six-game road trip for the time being, after a relatively simple home-based schedule to start the season. In other words, their biggest test hasn’t come yet.

Creepy and mediocre Los Angeles Lakers should have seen this coming | Los Angeles Lakers

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