During the NBA All Star break we will go over a few interesting tidbits for the second half of the season. There are plenty of intriguing playoff races that should go down to the wire. Our first one is about the Los Angeles Lakers.
1. Will the Los Angeles Lakers Make the Playoffs?
Due to the signing of King James, the Los Angeles Lakers timetable to make the playoffs has been expedited. Despite what people are saying now, it was a foregone conclusion that the Lakers were going to make the playoffs in 2019. On Christmas Day, the Lakers had risen to the No. 4 spot in the conference race. They were fresh off of a strong victory over the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, not much has gone right since then.
A plethora of injuries, and dysfunction due to trade talks, have turned the Lakers into a laughing stock. Heading into the All Star break under .500 at (28-29). Currently, the Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference. In addition, there is plenty of competition for the final few spots to make the postseason.
They trail the eighth seeded Los Angeles Clippers by three games. Although the Clippers traded away their best offensive threat, they seem to be capable of holding onto the spot. The Lakers are also two games behind the Sacramento Kings. It doesn’t take much to overcome a three game lead, but if the Lakers aren’t on the same page down the stretch, it’s conceivable that they will be in the lottery once again. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks seem like candidates to also make strong pushes to become playoff eligible.
The Lakers are (3-7) in their last 10 games. They are also tied for the third worst scoring differential in the Western Conference at -1.2 with the Kings. The only teams worst than the Lakers are the Memphis Grizzlies (-3.2) and Phoenix Suns -(10.2) scoring differential.
The biggest factor is LeBron James. Fans of the NBA know James has made the playoffs every season 2006. James missed the postseason during his first two NBA years, but he’s been a staple ever since. James has also played 39 out of a possible 57 games. Last season, he played in all 82 games for the first time ever. James is on pace to take the same amount of shots per game. However, he is shooting five percentage points lower (67.9%) from the foul line than last season.
In the end, it wouldn’t be wise to count the Lakers out until they are officially eliminated from the playoffs. Although they are young in many spots, the Lakers have the depth, talent and experience to make a run in the final 25 games.