It’s a terrible thing for the Lakers: Thinking that you’ve got everything figured out only to have a series of events turn the situation into a nightmare
Art by Marian Hukom | Photo from Inquirer Sports
Picture this: For the longest time, you’ve had a crush on one of your friends who, unfortunately, is dating someone. And throughout your years of 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 they’re 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 they tell you they’ve broken up. And as they confide in you, they realize how grateful they are to have you as a friend. You two end up hanging out more often than usual and, eventually they end up admitting they actually has feelings for you too—and so all the feelings you had for them comes back and you get your hopes up.
As you start going out on dates, they suddenly end thing one day, saying they’re not over their ex and that they’re absolutely sorry for wasting your time.
This feeling of being led on is what we Los Angeles Lakers fans have felt this whole NBA season, which 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.
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 upon us.
Before their anticipated game versus the Golden State Warriors on Christmas day, the Lakers won 19 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 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 in February that he was looking to leave the New Orleans Pelicans for a team like the Lakers. Lakers fans were of course excited about the possibility of finally having another 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 it 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 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.