Los Angeles- The Los Angeles Lakers are five and a half games back from the eighth seed and the frustration that long ago began to settle in with the fans and the organization has reached a boiling point. The Lakers’ record is 30-34 and all of the early season excitement associated with bringing back yet another championship to Tinseltown has long since faded, replaced by the resignation of a grim reality that this team in not a championship team, and very likely not even a team that will qualify for postseason play.
Earlier in the season, the Lakers had key injuries with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Rajan Rondo, Lonzo Ball, and LeBron James that put a lot of pressure on the less experienced role players and younger guys. To this observer, it seems like the Lakers are not only too young, but have also seemingly not yet identified exactly who and what they want to be. Do they want to be a team that can pressure defenders with their outside shooting or do they want to slow down the tempo and be a team that pounds the ball inside?
In the first half of the season, the Lakers were a team that could put pressure on any team with their outside shooting. They were shooting around 40% behind the arc, but in the second half of the season, the Lakers have fallen back into shooting under 35%. They have seemingly lost their confidence, desire to contest shots, and quite simply have been far too lackadaisical pushing the ball upcourt and getting quality shots.
After the 113-105 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, there has been speculation that head coach Luke Walton may get fired before the end of the season. Walton has not had a great time coaching the Lakers with a record of 91-137. Even with the Lakers’ playoff hopes dimming, James has stated that he still wants to play.
“You kind of look at the rest of the games, and look at the percentages of what’s going on there in the future, and see what makes more sense for not only me but the team itself as well,” James said. ‘You keep playing to the end and see what happens,” James said. ”I’ve been talking about it for a while now. Everyone has been talking about the postseason, (but) we should be worried about each and every game and how we can continue to get better with our process and get better with our team.”
It will be interesting to see what direction the Lakers will take moving forward.