It’s hard to believe, but we have finally made it to December which means we have made it through a quarter of the year with Lakers basketball.
After starting out the season surprisingly at 6-4 under new head coach Luke Walton, it seemed as though the Los Angeles Lakers could be the surprise team of the league and fight for a playoff spot as the season went on. However, that has not been the case due to the inexperience and injuries of this young Lakers team.
After starting the year off 6-4 in their first 10 games, as mentioned earlier, the Lakers have sort of hit the wall and have come back down to their expected reality with currently losing six games in a row and 9 out of their last 11.
Yes, the team is only in ninth place and 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the surprisingly weak and less deep Western Conference this year, but with the way they’ve been playing, it seems as though the Laker Nation will have to wait another year to qualify for the postseason.
With that said it is still early and the team has been able to stay afloat, despite not having starting point guard D’Angelo Russell for 12 of the teams last 14 games with a sore knee, Nick Young has been dealing with a calf injury in recent days, and veteran guard Jose Calderon is now out 2-4 weeks with a bad hamstring.
It seems as if all the fun and excitement we had watching the Lakers in the first month of the season has slowly but surely gone away.
With loses to teams this year like the, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, and recently the Phoenix Suns, these are the games you have to win if you want to be one of the best teams in the West.
However, with the team starting a seven game road trip and the first three games being against the Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers, this could be a make or break time for this young Lakers team as to how the rest of the season will go.
After those three, they travel to go play the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and finish the trip off in Orlando against the Magic.
Realistically, if the team wants to stay serious and prove they can truly compete for that final playoff spot in the West throughout the season, they should go at least 4-3 during the road trip. Anything less would show it’s just another one of the bottom feeders of the Western Conference and the chances of watching Laker playoff basketball won’t be at least until 2018.
One of the bright spots, however for the team, is back-up guard Lou Williams who has been straight balling the last few games with having point totals of 40, 38, 24, 35, and 24 in the past five contests. With the injury to Calderon and Russell slowly making his way back, Williams has been counted on to carry the load with the increase number in minutes and has been the definition of the term next man up.
Also, the team has witnesses a steady improvement and consistency with second year player Julius Randle who is averaging 13 points a game and nine boards and only has missed three games on the year.
It will be interesting to see how this young team can come together and push thru to see if they can be a legit playoff contender as we race towards the new year in the NBA season. Not saying this Lakers team is showtime, but when healthy, the team is talented and can do some serious damage if they can come together.