Is the Lakers Current Success Sustainable?
Start writing a post
Professional

Is the Lakers Current Success Sustainable?

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

47
scontent-iad3-1.cdninstagram.com

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 HighlightsYouTube

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

77202
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

146767
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments