What if the Lakers didn’t have any injury problems?
With 15 games left in this season, the Los Angeles Lakers are standing on the 11th place in the Western Conference so they have only mathematical chances of getting into the playoffs. Even though Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka managed to add LeBron James on the roster, he didn’t make any visible change. In fact, a few days ago I saw a photo on Facebook that was saying the following thing – last season, after 66 games, the Lakers had the exact same record as now (30-36).
This seems very weird because LeBron James has proven to be one of the best basketball players in history and along time he played with some really interesting rosters. However, at the moment, the quadruple MVP of the leagues is 34 years old and many think that his era is coming to an end. Maybe this is a little bit true but I still think that the Lakers had some bad luck in this season.
What I mean by bad luck is that they had to deal with a lot of injuries. LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart they all had some physical problems this year. Before James’ injury, the Lakers were on the 4th place in the West and they were playing really good. But after that, the players had to readjust their game without the best player in the world and that had a huge impact.
However, not only LeBron James missing had a big effect on the Lakers’ season but also the other injuries. Lonzo Ball was starting to become more and more aggressive when he injured his left ankle. Brandon Ingram was at the peak of his career and he really helped the team a lot but then the doctors discovered something in his blood. More than that, a lot of solid players like Lance Stephenson, Tyson Chandler, Josh Hart have had small injuries that prevented them for players.
In fact, the best players that the Lakers have, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball, have played together in only 23 games this season. They managed to win 15 of these games and they had a +5.3 net rating, and a 99.9 defensive rating. This means that they would have the 4th-best net rating, ant the best defensive rating in the league.
In my opinion, this means that they really had something there but they weren’t able to reach their greatest potential. However, it is good that the Lakers didn’t trade for Anthony Davis because they kept these 4 players and they can build something special in the future.