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Los Angeles Lakers – Five Questions for Missing the NBA Playoffs: Will the Big Bang Happen?

The Los Angeles Lakers are entering an offseason with many question marks. After missing the playoffs it is clear that changes are needed, but what should they look like? A scapegoat already seems to have been identified, but Russell Westbrook’s personality is complicated.

Los Angeles Lakers: how did the debacle happen?

The Los Angeles Lakers season began with championship hopes, it ended early on Wednesday night with the final end of all NBA playoff dreams. The 2022 postseason will take place without the Lakers, without LeBron James, the 48th loss in the 79th game of the season against the Suns brought final clarity. The Lakers just weren’t good enough to qualify for the playoffs or even the play-in tournament.

The Suns have thus put an end to the season of the traditional Hollywood franchise for the second time in a row. Last year this happened in the first round of the playoffs (2-4). Anthony Davis recently boasted that Phoenix’s victory was a stroke of luck due to his own injury in the postseason. “We know it and they probably do too.” It will give the Suns at least a touch of satisfaction to have eliminated the Lakers again.

Davis, however, now saw a similar reason for missing the playoffs as for the first round last year: the injuries. “Our goal was the championship and I still believe that we had the pieces of the puzzle for it. But the many injuries prevented that, that was the difference this season,” AD is sure.

In fact, the injury bad luck was rampant at the Lakers, but they were not alone in the league (see Nuggets, Clippers). Davis was only on the floor in 40 games, LeBron James has so far made 56 appearances. Both together have played only 22 games, offseason newcomer Kendrick Nunn played no game. In total, coach Frank Vogel had to scrape together 39 different starting lineups – loud ESPN second most in the league behind the Brooklyn Nets.

Los Angeles Lakers: The “biggest disappointment in NBA history”?

With more minutes together, Davis says, the superstar trio of LeBron, Russell Westbrook and himself would have found each other. Only a total of 393 minutes in 21 games ripped these Big Three together, which never lived up to their own claims. The net rating of the lineups with LeBron, AD and Russ is -3.5, the fit was an issue throughout the season. It’s hard to imagine that the Lakers would have really resolved this with more minutes together.

Ultimately, neither this trio nor the squad around it fit together. Too old, too little defense, too little shooting. At no time during the season did the Lakers reach the ceiling of a title contender that they had hoped for before the start of the season. Instead, LA was shot down by the opponent a total of 15 times with a difference of at least 15 points, partly with LeBron and with Davis.

In the end, the Lakers season has to be described as a historic debacle. Since the title favorites were chosen before the start of the season (1984), things have been loud StatMuse the two best-placed teams in Las Vegas always made it into the playoffs – the Lakers are now the exception for the first time. Ex-NBA center Kendrick Perkins, now a pundit for ESPN works, rumbled on Twitter and even spoke of “one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history”. Now the franchise has some pressing questions to answer this summer.

Los Angeles Lakers: When was the last time the Lakers missed the playoffs?

season balance sheet space playoffs
2018/19 37-45 10 lost
2019/20 52-19 1. champion
2020/21 42-30 7. Out in round one
2021/22 31-48 11. lost

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