The Los Angeles Lakers have been up and down so far this season, to say the least. They’ll go ahead and beat solid contenders like the Dallas Mavericks one night, only to turn around and get decimated by the likes of the Atlanta Hawks.
This unfortunate situation almost boiled over when LeBron James spoke with the media after their 138-122 loss against the Altana Hawks. James luckily stopped himself before he bad mouthed his teammates, but the sentiment remained, calling out his teammates for their poor performance.
He only stopped because he was quickly cut off by a female reporter, causing him to recompose himself and step away from the media.
Lakers’ Subpar Record So Far
Falling just short of a .500 record, Los Angeles currently sits at 9th place in the Western Conference with a record of 24-25. While the Lakers so far this season haven’t been atrocious by any means, a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis should by no means sit this low in the standings.
In particular, Davis is continuing to have a completely dominant season, putting up a stat line of 24.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game. The big man is doing absolutely everything on the court to win, and outside of LeBron, he just isn’t getting any real help.
Adding insult to injury in this situation, the Western Conference is the “easy” side this year, meaning a poor performance in the regular season could spell doom for the post-season.
A play-in roster has no shot of even making it to the Western Conference finals, let alone slaying whatever monster comes out of the East.
LeBron James Outburst with Reporters
LeBron James, unfortunately, lost his cool with reporters after two back-to-back losses against teams they really have no business losing to. However, we can’t really blame King James for his frustration because, come on, when was the last time he played on a team that struggled this much in the regular season?
When talking to the media following the unfortunate loss against the Trae Young-led Hawks, the frustration could easily be seen on LeBron’s face.
James then went on to state, “I don’t have any message for my teammates – just go out there and do your job,” when asked about upcoming matches against several contending teams.
The response does make sense, though, as the Lakers have proven they can beat real talent time and time again this year, taking dubs against top teams while also dropping games to trash rosters.
Los Angeles seems to contradict itself every single week, looking like a struggling roster one night before showing out the next.
One of the main issues facing the Los Angeles Lakers right now is their complete inability to create offence without Lebron or Davis on the floor. Without one or both of them playing, the offence grinds to a complete halt in the half-court, and the defence is simply lacking.
But even with Anthony Davis on the court, the Lakers have had a plus-minus of -10 so far this season.
It’s not like Davis himself isn’t putting in work – the Lakers just tend to over-rely on him when he is on the floor, relaxing on defence, and simply dumping the ball to him on offence.
Nonetheless, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves do deserve a little bit of credit, with both averaging solid numbers, but the rest of the roster is basically nonexistent. Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jarred Vanderbilt have been especially bad, playing over 25 minutes a game and not even averaging 10 points.
Lack of Strong Roleplayers
The Lakers bench is crap, plain and simple; their roleplayers aren’t playing up to expectations, and there is no other way to really put it.
As we mentioned, there are players like Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish who play well over 20 minutes a night while not even averaging 10 points. However, Prince is especially bad, putting up 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 30 minutes a night!
Sometimes it really seems like half of the players on the court don’t even want to be there, not rebounding, shying away from shots, and overall simply adding pressure to the two superstars.
You would think with James and Davis taking so much attention on the court, the roleplayers could get better shots and score more, but that just hasn’t been the case.
Season Outlook Going Forward
At ninth in the much easier Western Conference, it’s really not looking too good for the Los Angeles Lakers. Funnily enough, it does seem like a 0.500 record may be good enough to make a playoff birth in the West, but that doesn’t mean they will see any real success with how inconsistent they play.
Don’t get it twisted – the Lakers will always have a shot at a deep playoff run purely based on the skill of James and Davis, but if they have an off game, it’ll be a stomp. Dropping games to weaker teams just isn’t okay in the post-season, especially when one game can make or break a series.
Realistically, unless someone like D’Angelo Russell or Austin Reaves steps up their game to help out the dynamic duo, the team will likely fall in the first or second round of the playoffs. Because, as we’ve all seen, it’s far too easy to key in on one or two star players in the playoffs, effectively smothering what would otherwise be a decent team.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 26, 2024
If you’re a Lakers fan, don’t get your hopes up too high because if King James is vocally stating his displeasure, there are some real issues afoot.
Right on target 🎯 pic.twitter.com/eCx55aaCSP
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 31, 2024