By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Inquirer Sports | Art by Marian Hukom

Picture this: For the longest time, you’ve had a crush on one of your friends, who, unfortunately, is dating someone. And throughout the years of your friendship, you’ve somehow taken on the role of the overly supportive friend—someone, who, despite their feelings, unfailingly listens to their friend talk about the girl he’s dating. It’s painful for you of course, but you’ve somehow accepted the fact that there won’t be a chance between the both of you, ever.

But one day he tells you that they’ve broken up. And as he confides in you, he realizes how grateful he is to have you as a friend. You two end up hanging out more often than usual, and, eventually he ends up admitting that he actually has feelings for you too—and so all the feelings you had for him comes back and you get your hopes up. As you start going out on dates, he suddenly ends things with you one day, saying that he isn’t over his ex-girlfriend and that he’s absolutely sorry for wasting your time.

This feeling of being led on is what we Los Angeles Lakers fans have felt this whole National Basketball Association (NBA) season. This season has seen us going from strong title contenders to becoming one of the worst teams in the western conference.

After acquiring arguably the current best basketball player in Lebron James this summer, we all thought that we would finally break our six-year playoff slump. We also hoped for a winning team this season, as well as the mysterious solution that would break the Dwight Howard curse that’s been haunting the team for years.

All this hoping led us to think that everything was going smoothly, especially after seeing the team starting the first few months of the season on a remarkable note.

This feeling of being led on is what we Los Angeles Lakers fans have felt this whole National Basketball Association (NBA) season. This season has seen us going from strong title contenders to becoming one of the worst teams in the western conference.

While we hoped and believed everything was finally right again in Los Angeles, we didn’t know that this season would see Lebron James incurring his worst injury to date; we also mistakenly thought that the Anthony Davis trade drama was some sort of Hollywood-esque plot twist the basketball Gods bestowed on us.

Lebron’s Downfall

Before their anticipated game versus the Golden State Warriors on Christmas day, the Lakers won 19 out of their first 33 games. Not a bad ratio, especially considering they were ranked number five in the western conference standings. The rotations looked like they were patching up and it seemed like James was going to take over almost every game. It was a give-Lebron-the-ball-and-let-him-takeover (or let Lebron find his open teammates) kind of offensive strategy.

This went on until the King suffered an unfortunate groin injury while driving to the hoop in the game versus Golden State. This injury led James to miss the next 17 games.

With Lebron out, the Lakers were lost. While young bloods Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and All Star Rising Stars MVP Kyle Kuzma had their fair share of outstanding games, it wasn’t enough to bring home wins.

Anthony Davis Drama

Anthony Davis announced last February that he was looking to leave the New Orleans Pelicans for a team like the Lakers. We Lakers fans were of course excited about the possibility that there was finally going to be a star alongside James—a star that the team could build on as we gun for the championship this year.

But as the trade talks went on, it turned out that that possibility was a big joke. The Pelicans wanted Ingram, Ball, Kuzma, Zubac, Rondo, Stephenson, Beasley and two future round picks—basically almost the majority of the key players the Lakers could offer (except James of course).

The Lakers didn’t get Davis, and the whole trade drama brought the team down even more. Needless to say, the trade talks plus the injury of James were the main reasons for the downfall of the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

It’s a terrible thing: Thinking that you’ve got everything figured out only to have a series of events turn the situation into a nightmare.

At the start of the season, we were led to believe that brighter days were ahead in Los Angeles  (the possibility of acquiring another superstar being a major reason for that). But here we are back in the same situation—missing the playoffs for the sixth time in a row, this one being the most painful thus far.