Sports: Lakers Miss The Playoffs For Sixth Straight Year
by Nnamdi Chugbo
The Los Angeles Lakers are going to miss the playoffs for a franchise low sixth year in a row with a lowly 32-41 record.
The team has already opted to shut down young players Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, along with limiting the playing time of LeBron James. Magic Johnson, the president of basketball operations for the Lakers, and the rest of the Lakers front office are looking towards the future of the team and the development of their young core.
LeBron is the key factor to the Lakers’ success. Going into the 2018-19 season, fans had high hopes and expectations for what James’ talent and leadership could bring to the team. However, things have turned for the worst.
The Lakers are currently in a major slump that has fully taken them out of playoff contention and into tank mode. This is comes as a shock to many NBA fans across the league, especially with having a player who made the Finals for nine straight years in LeBron. LeBron James is set to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
As the Lakers look forward to next season, they are hoping to land a star in the likes of a Kawhi Leonard or a Klay Thompson. However, they may not be only searching for players this off-season. Many analysts are currently speculating that Luke Walton, the current head coach of the Lakers, will be fired when the season comes to an end. Jason Kidd is a someone to keep an eye on as he is the top choice for the Lakers according to many reports.
Though, not all the blame should be put be on Walton. The veterans that the front office brought for him to work with may not be an optimal fit for the team, and it can be seen in his rotations. Also, Walton is a young coach and was set to lead a locker room that was clouded with the many trade rumors that come with having LeBron James on a team.
Another factor to the underwhelming season is the injuries that just plagued this team the whole season. Dating back to Christmas Day, James suffered a groin injury in the Lakers’ highly-anticipated duel with the Golden State Warriors leaving him out for 17 games. The Lakers went just 6-11 in his absence.
Lonzo Ball’s season-ending ankle injury on January 19th stripped the Lakers of their second most vital player. Ball offered leadership to the team and set the tone defensively that got this team wanting to ball on that side of court. Along with Ball, Brandon Ingram was recently shut down for the rest of the season due to blood clotting in his shoulder. Ingram is expected to be cleared to play again in about four months, so he will miss the first part of the 2019 off-season.
LeBron James’ first season on the Los Angeles Lakers was nothing short of underwhelming. We will see how the Lakers will attempt to bounce back in this upcoming off-season. As the years goes by, LeBron is getting older and is unable to carry the load like he once used to. The Lakers will have to figure something out if they are going to make a championship run during the Lebron-in-LA era.