To say the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a terrible season would be an understatement. However, no one should be surprised by where the Lakers currently are in the standings.
As of this writing, the Lakers sit in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 30-36 record this season.
LA has been through a lot this season. LeBron James has not played well and Lonzo Ball is out for the season with a left ankle injury. Forward Brandon Ingram is also out for the season due to blood clots forming in his right arm.
The team has been in constant turmoil.
A lot of blame for the Lakers struggles have been placed on the shoulders of LeBron, some of it unfairly. LeBron is not the only reason the Lakers currently sit where they are. That being said, LeBron has not been his usual self of late either.
After returning from a groin injury that had him miss over a month of action LeBron has looked like a shell of himself on the court. There have been moments during games since his return where LeBron has completely checked out mentally.
In a game earlier this week against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma had to push LeBron into a defender to get him to play defense. That is how checked out he has been of late, as he is just leaving opponents wide open and barely attempting to defend.
However, even with the team’s multiple injuries along with the up-and-down play of LeBron, the Lakers players can only take so much of the blame for status of this team.
The front office and management have played a HUGE role in the current state of the Lakers.
One of the main reasons LeBron decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers was because of Magic Johnson. Johnson was supposed to be a huge upgrade from working with owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland.
Magic knows basketball like few others do. He was not just a run of the mill player, but one of the best of all-time. Not only that but he played the point guard position, the position in charge of running the team on the floor.
With that level of basketball knowledge in the front office and a talent like LeBron, you would think was a match made in basketball heaven. Yet, it is actually a far cry from a perfect match.
The Lakers were not built to thrive with a player of LeBron’s caliber, as they just do not have the correct personnel to complement his style of play.
So the big question one must ask is… why is this Lakers team constructed the way it is?
LeBron James is a facilitator of the basketball; he is a play maker just like Magic once was. LeBron’s best skill is his ability to handle the ball, run the team and get teammates involved.
So knowing that, why do the Lakers have few shooters on the team? LeBron is at his best when he is surrounded by shooters that can space the floor and create open looks.
LeBron’s game is predicated on his ability to draw the defense in and then being able to score on his own or kick the ball out to a teammate. That is what he does.
Magic knows that, but the decisions of both him and General Manager Rob Pelinka say otherwise.
Instead of surrounding LeBron with shooters Magic and Pelinka gave him a bunch of old free agents who cannot shoot, like Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, Rajon Rondo and Javale McGee.
These additions came on top of the young players they already had on the roster. These players, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, are all still attempting to find a consistent shot in the league.
Joining the Lakers was supposed to be Miami Heat Part II for LeBron. He was leaving Dan Gilbert and Cleveland for a true basketball mind that could lead him to the promised land. That is what he did with Pat Riley and the Miami Heat in 2010. While it is still early in the process, he has not been the same in LA.
Magic and the Lakers have failed in the past few seasons. They failed to get Paul George, they failed to get Kawhi Leonard and now they are failing with LeBron.
It might be time is time to stop calling him Magic and just revert to calling him Earvin because there is nothing magical about the Lakers. There has not been any magic in LA for long time, and with the way things are going there won’t be for a while.