Why Did the Lakers Not Live Up to the Hype?


Isaiah Smith, Author

The Los Angeles Lakers have had one of the most disappointing seasons in basketball history. Having debatably the best player to ever play the game in Lebron James, x4 First team all NBA in Anthony Davis, and former MVP  Russell Westbrook all on the same team at once playing sounds like it’s going to be a nightmare for other teams, right? Wrong. They have played super poorly this year and with the losses to the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs beating the Denver Nuggets, they have been officially eliminated from any form of post season play.

This will go down as the only 4th time that Lebron James have missed the playoffs in his 19 year career. With this squad, they should’ve been a higher seed and secured a play off spot, what happened? A lot of what this season has come down to can be blamed on 3 factors; the coach, Russell Westbrook, and Injury’s.

First starting off with the coach, Frank Vogel. Being 48 years old, Vogel has had a lot of basketball experience being assistant coaches of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, and being named head coach of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. Three years ago, after he was fired from the Magic, the Lakers hired him as there head coach. In 2020, Vogel lead a healthy Lebron James and Anthony Davis to a NBA championship. The next year, they had to win a play in game to go to the playoffs, which they lost to a scorching hot Suns team. This year, they have been eliminated from the play in which means no post season. The Lakers have more talent then ever before, and Vogel has thrown it too waste. Even though he is experienced, he is too blame for the Lakers downfall. If you have a big 3 with solid back up players, this team should’ve easily been a top 3 team, like they were projected at the beginning of the season. Vogel should and will be fired by the Lakers this off season.

Second, Russel Westbrooks horrendous season. Let’s look at the numbers from him this year. Playing 34.3 minutes per game he averaged 18.5 PPG, 7.4 Rebounds, 7.1 Assists, 3.8 Turnovers, and 3 fouls. He shot 44% from the field, which isn’t bad, but only shot 22% from 3, with 67% from free-throws. Just looking at that on a piece of paper doesn’t sound too bad, but if you have actually watched him this season, he has played very bad. He gets the stats but he has brought the chemistry of his teammates down and in game has made horrible decisions. At the beginning of the year, he was on pace to become the person to have the most turnovers in a season. Looking back at last years Westbrook or 2016 MVP Westbrook, this is a whole different player that the Lakers did not sign up to have.

The final factor  into why they have been a joke this season is something they necessarily can’t control, injuries. Injuries is the biggest downfall of this top seed projected team. Throughout the season, Anthony Davis played in 40 games out of the 82 regular season games and Lebron James only played 56 games out of 82. Yeah. That’s a big reason why they weren’t successful this year. Several other teammates got injured throughout the year and missed a lot of games. Because of the injuries and inconsistencies of the team, the starting line up has changed over 35 times this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers were a bust this year, and having the fact that the coach wasn’t efficient or good, Russel Westbrook under preformed, and that they were a injured star pretty much all year, it’s no surprise that they didn’t make the play. However, life still continues and James, Westbrook, and Davis all have there eyes on winning the chip next year, with or without the team.