Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Tomahawk Tuesday: Could the Los Angeles Lakers miss the playoffs?
After failing to acquire Anthony Davis at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a bit of a rough spot, sitting 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-29 record and a full three games back of the 8th seeded Los Angeles Clippers. At the beginning of the season, the expectation was the Lakers would for sure make the playoffs. How far they would go was the only question. But now, the discussion has shifted to whether or not this team will even make the playoffs, making this season more disappointing than people expected.
While I think all teams like the All-Star break because of the rest and days off, the timing of it is better for some teams than others. As winners of 3 of their last 10 games, the All-Star break couldn't have come at a better time for the Lakers, who lost badly to the 76ers in Philadelphia and narrowly lost to the Hawks in Atlanta following their dramatic one-point win in Boston. The hope is that with some time off and a chance to regroup, they'll be able to get back on the winning track.
Given that they have LeBron James, it seems like a foregone conclusion that they will make the playoffs. I mean, he's carried teams on his back before so why should we expect anything different come March and April when that final playoff push comes? The answer is health. James has already missed some time due to a strained left groin and there's concern that it may bother him for the rest of the season. On top of that, Rajon Rondo has missed some time with a hand injury while Josh Hart (left knee) and Lonzo Ball (left ankle) are currently on the shelf. When you're a young team that is still trying to gel, such injuries can prove to be very costly.
If the Lakers are able to get healthy down the stretch of the season, I have little doubt that they'll find a way to sneak into the top 8 of the Western Conference. However, if they're unable to stay healthy and the injury bug continues to plague them for the rest of the season, then odds are good they'll be on the outside looking in come playoff time. While James expected a rebuild when he came to Los Angeles, I don't think missing the playoffs was supposed to be part of the plan. It'll be interesting to see how things shake out in the second half of the season.
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