Halfway through the 2021-22 NBA season, things have yet to go exactly as planned for the Los Angeles Lakers, who find themselves behind the candidate pack.
Sitting in ninth (24-25) in the Western Conference, 3.0 games against the Denver Nuggets in sixth and a whopping 15.0 games against the conference-led Phoenix Suns, the Lakers are completely in range. Play-In with some serious work done.
LeBron James Injury Update
Although LeBron James played one of the best basketballs of his career, their season was derailed due to injury and the absence of COVID-19 health and safety protocol, along with the start of the season. Russell Westbrook’s slow head in LA. James sat out Thursday’s 18-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as they fell once again to the .500 blunder heading into the second night of their confrontation in Charlotte.
The team announced shortly before kick-off on Thursday that James would not be competing, listing him with knee injuries day in and day out. It’s the 13th game he’s missed this season with the Lakers recording a 5-8 record in games he’s missed.
Good news? Eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis returned to the lineup, returning with a 106-96 victory Tuesday night over the Brooklyn Nets. Davis had missed the Lakers’ previous 17 games after spraining the left side of the MCL on December 17 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers have taken a 10-10 lead in games Davis has missed this season.
Los Angeles’ visit to Brooklyn is the third of a six-game trip, which continues with games against the 76ers, Hornets and Hawks, with a game against the defending champion Bucks next week. Of their seven remaining games before the trade deadline, they’ve only played two teams over .500, and aside from the Bucks, they theoretically have a chance to play well together and grab some spots in charts.
According to Tankathon, the Lakers have the third-toughest schedule remaining this season, and their next games before the trade deadline could prove crucial in the direction of the season.
Lakers upcoming schedule 2021-22
|Day||Protest||Time (ET)||National Television|
|January 28||at Hornets||7:30 pm||ESPN|
|January 30th||at Hawks||1:00 pm||–|
|February 2||vs. Trail Blazers||10 pm||–|
|February 3||at Clippers||10 pm||TNT|
|February 5||vs, Knicks||8.30pm||ABC|
|February 8||compared to bucks||10 pm||TNT|
|February 9||at Trail Blazers||10 pm||–|
With their full roster back on the deck, the game’s sequel should give them a good indication of where they stand, amid speculation that some changes may be afoot.
It’s no secret that the Lakers need something to change and while Davis’ return could be the lightning rod to kick off a run and get them back on track, roster issues Theirs went deeper than just missing Davis for a long time.
Head coach Frank Vogel’s job security has been the subject of recent speculation, with reports emerging that he ‘coach for his job’ as the Lakers struggled for a spot in the Western Conference. A poor run before the trade deadline could turn out to be the last straw for the Lakers, who are desperately trying to make the most of what’s left of LeBron James’ championship window. (Although it looks like it could take another 10 years)
With flexible salary caps and virtually no draft capital, moving into the deadline will be difficult. The Russell Westbrook-sized elephant in the room was the easiest to point out with nine All-Stars struggling to influence team offense consistently, on average 18.6 points (his lowest since 2009-10), 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game with 44.1 / 29.9 / 67.5 shooting split – not to mention him He earned $44 million this season and has a $47 million player selection in 2022-23.
“The challenge is how to be the version of myself for this team, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.” Westbrook to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “I want to get better as the season goes on, and I have to take responsibility for what I am doing and how I make the people around me better. We had a good chance of taking it all, and to do that, I would have to get better — and I knew I would. ”
Finding a Westbrook buyer will be difficult, with Rockets keeper John Wall being a household name in recent days. The Undefeated’s Marc Spears reported on Tuesday about The Hoop Collective podcast, that the only “realistic” target for the Rockets to make a deal with Wall would be for Westbrook, however, will they be looking for Westbrook to come on off the bench if staying here suits them? It seems not.
“I was told they had a pair on the table, a couple on the table, but the only place that really had some, you know, real potential for it was with the Lakers for the Russ. They really made it. , I don’t know if it’s close to a dollar, but the pay is similar, so you can trade them one by one without including anyone else. , the first-round pick, looks pretty coveted, and I hope it’s included in such a deal. But John is in Miami. He’s training. He’s actually asked permission. Rockets in Miami so he can stay close to the kids and focus on training.
NBA reporter Marc Stein reports that if Westbrook wants to return to Houston, they will likely find him to buy outright, with their primary focus, leaving his contract with Wall and acquiring the Lakers’ 2027 draft pick.
Wall, who hasn’t played a game for the Rockets this season, in theory seems a better fit than Westbrook, but is it a move that puts them ahead? Sure is not.
Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker have also been hung in trade talks along with future draft properties., but what the Lakers might get in return remains a question.
If the Lakers can put together a bunch of games ahead of the trade deadline, with their full lineup on deck, perhaps the trade talks will be over, but for now, something has to change. As for the Lakers, whether it plays to the roster or the coaching staff, we’ll just have to wait and see.