The 2018-2019 NBA season is pretty much over and the Los Angeles Lakers are not any better than they were a year ago. The first year of 'LA-Bron' was flat out terrible and many fans including myself were left with a sour taste in our mouths. The city of Los Angeles feels like it's on fire with all the chaos that has transpired in the past seven months to the Lakers. 'Showtime' is nowhere to be found and management has to figure something out before things get out of control.
After successfully signing LeBron James this past summer, expectations were soaring through the roof at the beginning of this season. Things started to look bright for once in Laker nation. Sports journalists such as Stephen A. Smith went on the record to say the Lakers were going to make the NBA's western conference finals. Even with all the hype surrounding the team, I personally expected the Lakers to win a playoff series at most. Yet, I was wrong and had to digest that my favorite basketball team would be missing the post-season for the sixth year in a row.
I think the biggest culprit for the Lakers' woeful year came down to injuries. When players like LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball suffered devastating injuries the entire momentum for the team appeared to go down with them. The highest point for the Lakers was when they defeated the Golden State Warriors on Christmas day. After that game, things only went downhill for the rest of the way. The chemistry of the team was all over the place and head coach Luke Walton kept switching rotations like a mad scientist working on an experiment. To make matters worse, during the middle of the season the Lakers' young core of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball were affected by trade rumors with the New Orleans Pelicans. All these elements cooked up a recipe for disaster for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Maybe the lights in LA are too bright but I'm not trying to make any excuses. I did not expect the Lakers to be anywhere near championship contention but I did think they would at least take one step into the right direction. If anything, the team looks like they took a step backward. General manager Rob Pelinka and President of basketball operations Magic Johnson have to do better this off-season by securing some top free agents. LeBron James has to be a better leader for this team. I still believe he is the best player in the league but his flaws are undeniable.
I cannot place the entire blame of the Lakers issues on James but as time goes on I am starting to give in to American sports columnist Skip Bayless' depiction of the 'drama king.' I understand it is a high-stress environment but James is not only hurting his appeal to Laker nation but wearing out their patience too. Maybe this project failing right away is actually a good thing. It could spring forward for this team to change. Fans are going to have to give it the test of time to see what happens next with the Lakers.