Is the Lakers Current Success Sustainable?

Is the Lakers Current Success Sustainable?

After a rough start the Lakers have fought their way back over .500

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To put it nicely, LeBron James tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has gotten off to an underwhelming start. LA lost their first three games of the season which included Brandon Ingrams meltdown against the Houston Rockets, which resulted in multiple players getting suspended. Despite the 0-3 start, the Lakers went to win seven of their next 10 games and are now back into the playoff mix.

Rockets vs Lakers fight with Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram ejected | NBA Highlights YouTube

But is this comeback a sign of things to come? Or is it just the result of an easy schedule. Well, it's a bit of both.

Out of the Lakers seven wins, five of them have come to teams who did not make the playoffs last season and many of them by a narrow margin. They beat the Portland Trailblazers and Minnesota Timberwolves by four, and also the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks by one. How could a LeBron lead team struggle so mightily in the beginning of the season? When you add a guy who some think may be the greatest to step on the floor, you'd think that the team would improve let alone compete.

In reality, the Lakers haven't seen much change since adding LeBron and in some areas have even gotten worse namely defense. LA currently ranks 26th in points allowed which is just one spot worse than last season. But last season a "LeBronless" Lakers gave up 109.6 ppg, while this season they are giving up 115.5 ppg. Even though there is only a one spot difference, LA is nearly six points worse of defense. What's also funny about this, is that last season the Cleveland Cavaliers were also ranked 26th in points allowed and if you don't follow basketball that team also had LeBron James on it.

It isn't just the defense end of the court, where the Lakers are struggling. On offense, LA are 18th in three-point percentage, 25th in turnovers and 29th in free throw percentage. In order to survive in today's NBA, you need to be able to execute from the free throw line and the three-point line. Over the last few seasons, the Golden State Warriors have been in the top 15 in free throw shooting and three-point percentage. They are the pinnacle of the modern day NBA and since their dynasty began the rest of the team has tried to replicate their formula. But the Lakers are trying a different approach.

Instead of loading up their team with a bunch of three-point shooters, they opted to sign grinders like Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee. For the most part, they have been nice additions. McGee is having a career season and Rondo has stolen minutes away from former number two overall pick Lonzo Ball. But both of these guys were not going to make or break LA's success. Not even LeBron was to be solely relied upon to drag them to the playoffs. In fact, the front office was relying on the young core of Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram to hopefully progress enough to become marquee players. But so far this season that hasn't really been the case.

Head of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Lakers fans all assumed that guys like Ingram and Ball would take a big leap forward this season. So far Ingram hasn't really improved since the previous season. He still hovers around 15 ppg and is still so skinny that he is a miss match on the defensive end. With Ball, the glaring flaw with his game was that he couldn't shoot the basketball and to a degree has shown some improvement. But his increased shooting percentages haven't been enough to warrant him more playing time than Rondo. Hart and Kuzma seem to be the only ones who actually improved, both taking big jumps in ppg, field goal percentage and minutes. But neither Hart or Kuzma has shown to be able to become the difference in a game. Which is where LeBron comes in.

I know earlier I went on a bit of a tirade about his defense, but on the opposite end of the court he has definitely played up to his reputation. Outside of his free throw percentage, he is putting up MVP type numbers. But if James' previous championship seasons have shown us anything it's that in order for a LeBron lead team to make a run he's going to need other elite level players.

So does Magic trade some of these young prospects for a proven star? Or does he hold out and wait? I don't know. But what I do know is that something's got to give. The West has been viciously competitive for the past decade, and if the Lakers want to even make the playoffs, they'll need to find some sort of consistency.

They can't just keep relying on beating up on weaker opponents. Especially when you share a division with the Warriors.

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?
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For generations, children have aspired to become professional athletes. In the 1920's children wanted to be Babe Ruth; in 2012 children wanted to be Derek Jeter. The list of pro-athletes that influence the younger generation can go on and on. Looking back on elementary school yearbooks, the most common profession for youths has (and will continue to be) a professional athlete. Whether it involves the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or any other professional league, children tend to pick this profession out of love for the specific sport. Yet, these innocent and uninformed children seem to strike gold by choosing one of the most economically successful jobs in the world.

While professional athletes dedicate most of their life to their respected sport, the amount they are paid to simply play games is absurd. For example, the average salary for a professional football player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year. Keep in mind that that is average, without external endorsements. Therefore, some athletes make much more than that. The crowd favorite Peyton Manning averages $19 million a year. Sports other than football also have averages that are incredibly generous. In the world of golf, the popular Tiger Woods makes more than $45 million a year. These pro-athletes make millions of dollars, most of whom have not received an outstanding education. In fact, some have not even received a college diploma.

Zooming out from the glamorous and indulgent world of professional athletics, taking a look at other professions seems to be much less appealing. How is it that jobs that are vital to the success of the public receive much less commission than jobs that revolve around running to catch a ball? The average pediatrician makes $173,000 a year. The average teacher salary is $50,000 a year. This does not mean that a professional athlete is any less of a hard-working, devoted, deserving professional. This also does not mean that the athletes have not pushed themselves and worked incredibly hard throughout the years to get where they are, but it does mean that there is a line where inequity takes over. Fame and fortune are showered upon athletes. Is it truly necessary to average out millions of dollars per year when people spend massive amounts of time researching and developing new policies, cures, or other ways to improve the condition of the world? The salary and status of professional athletes seems to be a major power imbalance in the world of careers.

Cover Image Credit: i.ytimg.com

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Always Be The Overdressed Person In The Room

You'll make a better impression than being underdressed.

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I recently had jury duty (super exciting, I know) and I was stressing about what to wear. The notice said to wear something "appropriate for an appearance in court" but it also said that comfortable clothing was strongly suggested. I was confused and conflicted by these two sets of instructions, so I asked my family for help.

I had never served jury duty before, so I didn't know what to expect in any sense. I was on spring break from school so I brought home two different pairs of dress pants, two different nice shirts, my blazer, and a pair of black wedges to choose from. I also knew I had one more shirt at home to try out.

I tried on a few different combinations until I ended up with the wedges, fitted dress pants, a tank top, and the blazer. I felt great, I looked great, and I was ready to go.

Sitting in that room for six hours, just looking at everyone made me realize only about ten people were in business professional clothing. A decent amount of people were in business casual, but others were in completely casual clothes. I even saw a guy in Giants sweatpants and hoodie, and I realized that I was overdressed (but still comfortable).

I semi-recently realized that I tend to overdress for occasions. Could be something as simple as going to school or something as big as a celebration or an interview.

As I mentioned in my past article about having thick calves, I wore heels to school a lot in high school and I still do now in college. I love to wear dresses and skirts when it's nice enough to. For Christmas and Easter mass, my family and I wear suits and dresses while other families are in pajamas, sweats, jeans, and t-shirts.

I would always much rather be too dressy than not dressy enough. Heck, I wanted to wear a ballgown to prom (but I didn't). I love dressing up. I'm a very feminine person and I like to reflect that in my clothing style. I know that not everyone is like that and I don't expect you to read this and suddenly dress up every day. And when I say overdressed, I just mean dressier than you need to be.

If you're going somewhere and you're unsure of the dress code, take my advice and always overdress. It beats being underdressed and though you might end up getting looks either way, at least if you are overdressed, you'll have a confidence about you that won't go unnoticed.

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