The Retirement Home


With such a slow start to the year, many Lakers fans are wondering what is the cause for this unexpected downfall.

Justin T., Morgan C., and Sophia T.

Are the Los Angeles Lakers in trouble? With a 6-5 record and 8th place in the Western Conference, the former 2020 NBA Champions do not seem like themselves. 

Over the offseason, the Lakers signed many veterans in anticipation of returning to the NBA Finals.  They signed Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington, and Trevor Ariza. Yet the biggest move of the offseason occurred when L.A. traded away Kentvious Cadwell-Pope, Montrez Harrell, and Kyle Kuzma for All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. This trade made it clear that a youth movement was not in mind. 

“I like when people talk about their age. It gives a better story. I think people forget, at the end of the day, it’s about basketball. You got to know how to play basketball. You got to have that experience. I think that’s what we bring at this point and time. Our talent, our skill, but also our experience,” said veteran, Carmelo Anthony.

Is age really the problem? The Lakers may have a well-rounded team with lots of talent, but talent means nothing when there are 30-year-old players getting injured every week. The average age of the youngest team is 24 years old, but the average age for the Lakers is the highest in the league at  30 years of age.

Although age seems to have been a factor among some players who have not been at their best, the Lakers believe it is not the issue. 

“I don’t think it’ll be a problem at all,” Ellington said during his introductory conference. “I think age is just a number. I feel like we got guys that have been pretty healthy, still moving really well, and even some guys that are playing some of their best basketball right now at this age.”

Additionally, L.A. has been struggling with the absence of their star forward, LeBron James. Out of the eleven games that the Lakers have played, James has only played six. He missed three games due to soreness in his ankle after injuring it late last season. Upon returning for a couple of games, the Lakers announced that he will be missing at least another week with an abdominal injury. 

“Especially the way he plays, it’s tough for me to see him getting back [in] under four weeks. Then again, he’s a different dude, so I wouldn’t put anything past him. These are such delicate injuries that can respond to rest with pain relief quickly, but they are highly susceptible to reinjure if returned too quickly,” said DiFrancesco, the Lakers trainer. 

Along with LeBron James’ injuries, Russell Westbrook has not played up to his expectations after being traded this offseason. Especially with James and Anthony Davis out indefinitely, Westbrook has not been able to carry the team on his back. He has averaged nearly 18 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. 

To add to the Lakers’ embarrassing start, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s only two wins this year have been against the Lakers. When the Lakers play weaker teams like OKC, who will most likely finish bottom five in the league, they cannot afford to lose.

The Lakers need to bounce back into their usual rhythm, or the legacy of this team will be limited to a collection of big names with little result to show for it. If injuries continue to impact their star players, the team will most likely not have a chance of returning to the NBA finals.