The arrival of LeBron James in the recent free agency made most people believe that the Los Angeles Lakers are finally ready to make a noise in the deep Western Conference. It’s hardly a surprise why the expectations are high for the Purple and Gold. The Lakers just acquired a player who hasn’t missed the postseason since 2005 and has ruled the Eastern Conference for eight straight years.
Unfortunately, it seems like the acquisition of one of the greatest players of all time is not enough to end the Lakers’ playoff drought in the 2018-19 NBA season. After the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers lost six of their last nine games, resulting in them to drop from the Western Conference standings. After suffering an embarrassing defeat from the hands of the rebuilding Phoenix Suns on Saturday night, ESPN‘s Basketball Power Index projected the Lakers to have a “0.9 percent chance” of earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference.
In Las Vegas Superbook, the Lakers now have +600 odds to reach the postseason compared to the -450 openings odds before the starting of the 2018-19 NBA season.
“The Lakers now have +600 odds (a $100 wager would win $600) to make the postseason at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, by far their worst odds all season. They are a staggering -900 favorite to miss the postseason. Los Angeles was +240 to make the playoffs before Saturday’s game and had -110 odds at the All-Star break.”
After eight straight Junes watching LeBron James on the game’s biggest stage, it’s time to start bracing for a whole spring without him — and wondering how in the world he’ll survive that. Column for SportsMonday in the @nytimes: https://t.co/V4r2vyAnVd— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 3, 2019
The Lakers have started to struggle when LeBron James suffered a groin injury during their Christmas day matchup against the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors. When James returned to the court, the Lakers then became the center of controversy after they reportedly offered their entire young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline. Most of the players involved in the trade discussion between the Lakers and the Pelicans admitted that it greatly affected their on-court performance.
LeBron James is currently doing his best to bring the Lakers back to the winning column, but he is also taking some of the blames in their recent struggle. James has been committing lots of turnovers in some of their games and failed to hit crucial free throws. Also, some people noticed that James is not exerting much effort on the defensive end of the floor.
As of now, LeBron James and the Lakers are sitting in No. 10 spot in the Western Conference, five wins behind the No. 8 seed San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers only have 19 games left before the regular season ends, and most of those games are against top-8 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences.