Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook reacts after Toronto Raptors' Chris Boucher, right, hit a 3-point shot during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Tinseltown Terror: The Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace

The Los Angeles Lakers, 17-time NBA Champions, have found success in multiple eras. From Mikan, to Magic to the Mamba, some of the sport’s greatest ever have propelled the Lakers to the top of the totem since the franchise’s founding in 1947.

Despite the team’s 2020 title, the Lakers are in the midst of the worst stretch in the team’s history. After it missed the playoffs last season, Los Angeles has missed the postseason in seven of its previous ten seasons.

What Happened?

In 2012, Los Angeles traded two first-rounders and two second-rounders to the Phoenix Suns for two-time MVP Steve Nash. In a colossal four-team deal that offseason, the team also traded for then superstar Dwight Howard, building their version of a super team at Staples Center.

By the end of the season, Steve Nash had played 50 games of what would be his penultimate season, Kobe Bryant had torn his achilles and after a first round sweep, Howard would leave in free agency.

It was a swing and a miss, and the Lakers missed the postseason each of the next six seasons.

Draft Woes

After the 2012-13 season, the Lakers failed to eclipse 30 wins until 2017-18. The team’s worst record during that stretch was a horrid 17-65 mark during the 2015-16 season. But the problems trickled down from the top.

The Lakers did not draft a single player on their 2022-23 roster. Former Lakers lottery picks D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball have starred on other teams. Russell, Randle and Ingram have made all-star appearances.

Los Angeles missed the playoffs several seasons in a row, failed to capitalize on its draft picks and traded away future picks for superstar forward Anthony Davis. And while Davis helped bring the team a championship in 2020, his counterpart, LeBron James, turns 38 this season. As for the draft in the future? The Lakers do not have uninhibited rights to their own first-round pick until 2026.

The New Orleans Pelicans can swap with the Lakers this season and have their choice of the team’s 2024 or 2025 first rounder. And there has not been a precedent for in house player development in LA in over a decade. Andrew Bynum is the most recently drafted Lakers first-rounder to make an all-star team while playing with the purple and gold.

What Now?

James’ 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game were not enough to push the team into the playoffs in 2022. Through 24 games of the 2022-23 NBA season, the team sits near the bottom of the Western Conference. This is despite the team having Davis available for 21 of its 24 games.

Davis is having a stellar season. He averages 27.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game on 59.0% shooting. But the team is 10-14 after missing the postseason in 2022 and is nearly $60 million over the cap. New head coach Darvin Ham may have a mop up role going forward.


About shawnhumphrey

Check Also

Heat Knocked From NBA In-Season Tournament After Loss to Bucks

The Miami Heat fell to the Milwaukee Bucks last night 131-124. With the loss, the …