With only a little over 20 games remaining in the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are under 500 and 9th in the Western Conference. The Laker’s remaining schedule is one of the toughest. They will be without Anthony Davis for at least four weeks with a foot sprain. Davis is the Lakers second best player, and he’s also one of their best defenders. The pressure is on the shoulders of a 37-year-old man in LeBron James. Individually, he’s playing some of his best basketball offensively of his career. James is averaging 29.1 points per game, and he’s scored at least 25 points in 23 consecutive games this season.
Despite LeBron’s success this season. The Lakers haven’t had the best team success because the pieces around James and Davis just don’t fit as they envisioned coming into the regular season. Some of the issues why the Lakers have struggled this season is because of the lack of three-point shooting. The roster doesn’t fit the strengths of the Lakers, age, and injuries. As the season started, one of the questions was, could Russell Westbrook make things work with the Los Angeles Lakers. The answer is no. When you’re playing with someone with the statue of LeBron James, you’re always in the win-now mode because he’s playing for championships.
Westbrook leads the NBA in turnovers, and his inability to make shots from the perimeter and poor decision-making is a big reason the Lakers may not make the playoffs. Despite Westbrook’s struggles, all the blame is not on his shoulders because of the Lakers as an entire unit. Some blame lay on Rob Pelinka and LeBron James. Pelinka gave LeBron too much power constructing this team instead of putting his foot down and making the final decision when it came to who’s playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. On the other hand, LeBron James is an all-world basketball player, but he’s not the best at constructing a team for the long term after him.
The Lakers had an opportunity to get Buddy Hield, DeMar DeRozan, or Kyle Lowry to a degree who all fit better with LeBron and Anthony Davis because of their ability to play off the ball and space the floor with their shooting. With James being 37 years old and in year 19, the Lakers should’ve surrounded James with younger pieces instead of getting vets who are past their prime. Lakers gave up young players in Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and draft capital.
The Lakers could’ve been in a better position with keeping and developing our younger players instead of always listening to LeBron and giving him the final say so all the time. Sometimes you must tell your players to trust the front office and let them do their jobs. I agree that LeBron should have a lot of say, but the final decision can’t always lie on his shoulders. Will the Lakers make the playoffs? Will Westbrook play his best basketball when it matters most? Will the Lakers supporting cast rally in Anthony Davis’s absence?