As in, the Los Angeles Lakers are really, REALLY bad.
LA has won exactly zero games since the All-Star break in which LeBron James has not scored at least 50 points. They are 2-8 since returning from their week off and have an average point differential of -9.2, highlighted by a 29-point loss to the Phoenix Suns and a 28-point blowout to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The 2020 champions are almost unrecognizable and look like one of the worst teams in the entire league. At this point, they might as well forfeit their play-in tournament spot and focus on getting LeBron rested and Anthony Davis before the next season; everything else is secondary at this point.
The Los Angeles Lakers Can’t Win Games
Whatever the going rate for 50 pieces is, LA’s front office better fork over the requirement, because that appears to be the only way that they win games anymore.
LeBron James is still scoring an unprecedented 29.7 points per game, but without consistent support from co-star Russell Westbrook and key role players Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony, as well as another injury to an increasingly broken Anthony Davis, even he looks like he does not care what the final result is anymore.
Westbrook has notably gotten into it with media members and is, reportedly, refusing instruction from the coaching staff and is going to be on his way out this summer.
“The King” is often spotted not playing any semblance of defense and refusing to hustle up and down the court, and frankly, with good reason. At 37 years old and in his 19th season, he should not be averaging 30 points on a team that is 10 games under .500.
The once-feared purple and gold went down 21-2 against the Toronto Raptors on Monday, a miserable follow-up to the Phoenix loss during which they allowed 48 first-quarter points.
There is enough blame for everyone’s plat, too— maybe even a Thanksgiving dinner’s worth. Russell Westbrook is shooting exactly 8.7% from three since the ASG, Melo is totally hit or miss, Malik Monk cannot recapture the mid-season glory he portrayed, the young players are no longer making the hustle plays, and the old guys all look sloppy and disinterested.
Frank Vogel is out of answers and is resorting to giving heavy minutes newly-signed Wenyen Gabriel, which should say enough about where the team is at. He is also yet to settle on a consistent rotation and is probably going to find himself out of a job by the time that the season ends.
Blow the Whole Thing Up
Nobody on the roster aside from LeBron, AD, and Austin Reaves should be safe from the chopping block this offseason; even Reaves could be packaged in a deal if another team wants him, but he is the only player on the roster that has consistently exceeded expectations all year except for, perhaps, LeBron.
General manager Rob Pelinka got a ton of credit for engineering the Lakers’ championship run in the bubble, and he deserves just as much criticism as he did adulation for the title. The experiment-build of the oldest team in league history was clearly failing, and he did not make moves prior to or at the trade deadline to remedy that. He has wasted the most impressive scoring year in the history of the modern NBA, and LeBron is now one year closer to retirement— for nothing.
The Los Angeles Lakers should consider shutting it down for the year and only playing their young guys. They do not even have any draft picks to improve since they all belong to New Orleans, but at least they could ensure that their stars get some more rest and recovery.
No matter what the Lakers decide to do, they should be flexed out of the national television schedule until they come back with a competitive roster, because they are truly pathetic.
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