On January 12, 2017 the Los Angeles Lakers lost a game to the San Antonio Spurs by 40 FRIGGING POINTS! Pardon me for emphasizing the huge point difference because personally I had hopes that the Lakers would improve at least an ounce this season. Turns out, I only disappointed myself, and after the embarrassing game against the Spurs, Luke Walton and his boys are now in 12th place in the Western Conference, carrying a miserable 15-28 win-loss record. Just last month, they were at 10th place and close to nabbong the 9th spot. Then, they went back to their old habits of foolery. Throughout the last few weeks, there were plenty of games when the Lakers were up 20 points and yet managed to lose the majority of those games.
What went wrong? Let’s start with the basics.
Defense is one area in basketball that the Lakers continue to struggle with this season. In terms of limiting the field goal percentage of opposing teams, the Lakers are the worst in the league in that category. Teams who play the Lakers are shooting 47 percent from the field. In addition to this, the Lakers are also among the worse in the league in terms of limiting their opponents’ points. In fact, teams who play the Lakers are averaging 109 points per game, and the 134 points scored by the Spurs is one of the highest point totals scored by any Laker opponent this season. Additionally, the Lakers allowed Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Spurs to shoot over 60 percent from the field and 47 percent from beyond the three-point line. And mind you folks, every player Greg Popovich sent onto the court has scored at least three points. Meanwhile, the Lakers had only three players scoring in double figures led by Julius Randle’s 22 points.
While the Lakers are struggling to defend, they are also struggling to run their offense. They are shooting 44 percent from the field and a lowly 35 percent from the three-point line. Their 20 assists per game is also another factor that can be directly contributed to the disappointing performance of the storied franchise. Individually, no player from Luke Walton’s roster averages more than 20 points per game so far. Who is currently leading the Lakers in scoring? Answer – Lou Williams with 17 points per game. Williams, who has yet to start an NBA game this season, has been the scoring leader when it should arguably be Julius Randle. Rookie Brandon Ingram on the other hand, is on his way to a forgettable rookie season with eight points per game average. The Lakers’ inconsistency on both ends of the court have been displayed every single game especially when they are playing against the elite teams in the league. If you are a team who is aspiring to return to the playoffs after runs of miserable seasons, you simply can’t allow teams like the Spurs to convert 60 percent of their shots and score 134 points. You just can’t make 44 percent of your field goals and expect to win in the NBA. You can’t have a team who is not capable of defending opponents and expect to win. No, hell no.
Can the Lakers turn this lackluster season around and climb back into the playoff hunt? It’s possible and doable to say the least. But, will D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the Purple and Gold have the will power to save their season? That folks, can only be answered by the Lakers themselves. And honestly speaking, I don’t even think trading for a superstar will save the Lakers from another embarrassing season. This team doesn’t have it in them just yet, and I don’t think the Lakers are ready to make a deep run into the playoffs with the current roster. If by some miracle the Lakers can turn this around, what more can we expect from them if they make the postseason? If they get the Golden State Warriors in the first round, we should expect nothing.