The Los Angeles Lakers had to face an early elimination after losing against the top-ranked Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The Spurs won over the Nuggets, pushing the Lakers out of any postseason hopes. The Lakers were considered the preseason favorites in the Western Conference before the start of the tournament. However, LA kept losing miserably and could not do better than the 11th position.
While the players struggled with injuries, lack of chemistry, and inconsistencies, the Los Angeles front office made it clear that they had no plan of fixing the team at the 2022 trade deadline. The presence of four future Hall of Famers on the team seems to be a total waste after what has been a disastrous season for the Lakers. But the LA management decided that the problems in the team would fix themselves. Their inaction has been firmly criticized. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne remarked that the Lakers management decided, “You guys got yourself into this. This is the bed you have made.”
Unfortunately, giants like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony just could not make it work. The Lakers’ front office was unwilling to make some crucial changes required to bring the team back in shape. LA kept on telling other teams that their 2027 first-round pick was off-limits. Their solution to the whole situation was to get the 34-year-old DJ Augustin from Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, Augustin could not score a single point in a do-or-die game against the Suns.
Early Exit is Probably best For Lakers After A Terrible Season:
The Lakers were struggling to get even one win to keep their play-in hopes alive. They kept on losing, and the Spurs held their nerves in a critical fight for the 10th seed. If the Lakers had somehow made it to the playoffs, the Suns would have waited to crush their team in the first round. The Lakers would have lost the series badly. However, it would have given the Los Angeles management a cheap excuse for their inaction. A humiliating end to the season could act as an eyeopener for the franchise that the big-buck tactics with superstars in your team do not guarantee you wins. The Lakers’ higher-ups will realize that there are hardly any positives to build upon at the end of this season.
The Lakers’ President Jeanie Buss and Vice-President Rob Pelinka have been the prime decision-makers of the franchise. However, LA has dropped three seasons out of their last four. The only thing the supposed organization leaders have to show for is the 2020 championship. However, it is just not enough to justify the horrific failure that the Lakers are bearing right now.
If LeBron plays two of the final three games, he could win the scoring title at the age of 37. The only thing that the Lakers were happy about was the clinical performance from James this season. However, there is no way he could take them ahead all alone. Anthony Davis played his part as a sidekick whenever he could. However, the Lakers’ Big Three, James, Davis, and Westbrook, only played a total of 21 games together. Davis missed out on a lot of games due to injuries.
Moreover, the Lakers’ roster-building philosophy to acquire Westbrook has failed miserably. While the Lakers were looking to acquire big names, they just could not think of chemistry. Westbrook was a misfit point guard who neither shoots nor defends in a team where LeBron James leads. The Lakers’ philosophy of LeBron and Davis carrying the roster with ten minimum-salaried players proved to be a complete failure.
However, the most crucial thing to notice will be if the Lakers spend a hefty sum of money and fix the team to give James and Davis a real shot at the championship. The Lakers will clearly have to let a lot of players go. Frank Vogel will most probably have to bid farewell to the LA’s head coach position too. They will need some young blood, and rebuilding the team around LeBron and Anthony seems to be a smart way for the Lakers if they are really interested in turning things around next season.