Lakers Early Season Struggles


Mike Nelson, Writer

“Lakers 21-22 Champs” are words heard this NBA offseason.  Although they won the championship in the 2019-2020 NBA season, they have been in a slump ever since.  But now with a quarter of the season done, the Lakers are at a record of 12-11, placing them 6th in the west and 3rd in their division.  

On paper, this team has a roster that rivals the big 3 Nets with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden with the Lakers having Lebron James, Anthony, Davis, and Russell Westbrook.  But while the Nets start to cement their idea of the team as final contenders, the Lakers are still trying to solidify themselves as a playoff contender.

The first problem is the starting point guard and former MVP Russell Westbrook.  He has a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 17.10, a FG% (Field Goal Percentage) of 44.5%, 3 point% of 30.7%, and to top it all off, a free throw percentage of 68.4%.  A brightside in his performance is that he is the team leader in assists per game at 8.6 which also ties him with 4th place in the league.

Another problem is the duo of Lebron James and Anthony Davis.  Lebron’s issue is that he has only played 11 games of this season’s 23 games the Lakers played.  Anthony Davis has had problems with injuries and leaving games early since last season.  It has somewhat carried into this season. 

This all collectively led to the Lakers’ poor performances as a team.  For example, the Lakers had a narrow victory vs the pistons both times they have played this season.  On Nov 21, 2021The Lakers won the game 121-116 and Kane Pitman who is a sports writer for sporting news said, “Entering the game with the 20th ranked defense by giving up 108.5 points per 100 possessions, the Lakers were cut apart in the first half, conceding 68 points to the Pistons.  In fact, they allowed Detroit to score 99 points through the first three quarters, which is astounding when considering this Pistons squad had failed to reach 100 points in eight of their first 15 games this season.”  At first listen this still sounds bad, but it’s even worse when realizing that the Pistons were ranked last in the eastern conference last season.

 Lakers fan and South Windsor High School student Shaunak Shinde describes the biggest problem with the Lakers.  “Rotations, there are times where we have three guard-type lineups on the floor.”  

To sum up, if they don’t get it together it looks like they won’t win the championship this season as much as fans want to believe that this isn’t true.