What the young Los Angeles Lakers lack the most is consistency. Without it, they can kiss any postseason hopes goodbye.
The Lakers started the season off strong but after netting a 10-10 record early have slumped and only won 5 of their last 26. Because they cannot string a series of wins together they can can’t out hopes of making the eighth and final playoff spot in the west.
Early on with L.A.’s burst of talent and ability they seemed like they would be a .500 team for the entire year. However, injuries and inconsistent play has stifled their progress. The Lakers’ top players, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle have both proven to have all-star capabilities and flashes of greatness. The problem is they haven’t been able to perform at a high-level night in and night out.
Randle is a triple-double player at his best and Russell can get red hot from the field when he is on his A game. The two just have yet to eliminate silly mistakes from their game that can only come with time.
As a team, L.A. can’t figure out how to play well from tip-off to the final buzzer. They either start off slow and attempt a comeback that falls short of victory, or they start well but falter in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers are only five games out of the final western conference playoff spot. Unfortunately, they haven’t proven capable of doing what they need to get in—win. They have now lost five straight, some of which have been winnable games. If they expect to make a run for the postseason, it will start with winning games they are capable of.
Head coach Luke Walton has proved willing to bench his starters that aren’t giving the maximum effort. Rightfully so, because his team is too talented, young or not, to continue losing in the manner that they do.
With 36 games left in the regular season, L.A.’s focus should be on regaining full strength and developing the consistency they lack. If they can go .500 from here on out, they can bring back some hope to the franchise proving all they need is time to develop. But for now they are falling well below expectations based off their early season showing. Frankly, they have been embarrassing and frustrating to watch.
It may be over for the Lakers’ playoff hopes as they have fallen to 14th in the western conference. The season, however, is still salvageable in terms of growth and promise. It starts with solid play for a full 48 minutes and a win.