Yesterday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings marks the 10th defeat for Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in just 12 games. The Lakers continue to struggle as they did the last season, when they failed to make it to the play-in eliminators, let alone the playoffs.
On paper, the Lakers undoubtedly have one of the best squads, featuring former MVP Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis, one of the best big men in the league. Yet they are failing to perform consistently. You’ll probably have better luck checking out slot games on an online casino, than the Lakers have had all season.
This article will go through 5 reasons why the nightmare of the Lakers continues.
No doubt the Lakers have excellent individual superstars at their disposal, each earning their respect rightfully so. However, none of the team’s players are consistent when it comes to making shots from outside the arc.
The starting guards Russell Westbrook and Lonnie Walker IV have a combined average of 30 percent from beyond the arc. While the stats are respectable, the dynamic shift in the game style requires more efficiency from 3 point range.
The highest 3 pointer percentage on the Roster is Lebron’s, who is considered a decent shooter, but shooting is not his forte. Furthermore, the Lakers released Carmelo Anthony just before the start of this season, who was a reliable shooter from deep.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the current roster is its dysfunctionality. Russell Westbrook has been known to be a volume scorer, but not an efficient one. Most of his previous teams had defensive players and rebounders in the lineup, which gave Russell the leverage to shoot in volumes.
The Lakers have Davis, who is a scoring center and will look for second chance points on the offensive rebound rather than kicking it out back to Westbrook. Even if Davis plays the ball outside, his first priority would be Lebron, as Russell is not known for efficiency.
Similarly, Lebron is a great passer, and often gets the rock to the open man, but none of the shooters are performing up to mark. A recent clip from the Lakers game has gone viral, where Westbrook took a shot which missed the rim, while Lebron and Davis were shaking their heads in dismay. The clip is evidence that the team is not on the same page.
The Lakers fired Frank Vogel after a disappointing end to the last season, and appointed Darvin Ham as Head Coach. Vogel had been coaching the team since 2019, and led the Lakers to a championship in 2020. While Ham also has a note-worthy resume, as he was the Assistant Coach of the Bucks when they won in 2021, he has never assumed the role of head coach.
His inexperience was evident in a recent Lakers game, where he substituted Russell Westbrook for Lonnie Walker IV when the team was trailing on the scoreboard. In the post-game conference, Ham reasoned his choice by saying that he wanted extra defense on the floor. Given the slump Westbrook is in, it was not a wise choice to sub Lonnie Walker out, who is a decent scorer.
The long stint of bad performances and internal issues has adversely impacted the morale of the players. Basketball is a team sport, which requires teammates to have each other’s backs no matter the circumstances. This is clearly not evident in the Laker’s squad.
News and conspiracies regarding trading Westbrook surface, stating that James and Davis are not in a good place with the former Thunder guard. The low morale can also be seen in post-game interviews and on the looks of the faces of the bench, especially when Lebron is on it. It seems that he is growing tired of carrying the team on his back, and his teammates being an added burden. Numerous images and videos from social media show Lebron covering his face with a towel or just sighing in disappointment.
The Lakers did have a chance to amend their roster until last month, when the trade deadline ended. There were many speculations regarding the Lakers making a move for the Net’s guard and Lebron’s former teammate, Kyrie Irving.
In addition, the Lakers were linked to top talent in the league including Damian Lillard and Buddy Hield, in order to strengthen the shooting aspect. Instead, the Lakers ended up signing a defensive player in Patrick Beverley.
While Beverley gives the defense a huge boost, he is an offensive liability and won’t be adding much help as a shooter, especially from the three point line. The trade baffled the fans, who were expecting the franchise to close in on Irving, Hield or Lillard. It should be mentioned that Patrick Beverley is aging, and is not a sustainable option for the Lakers.