After losing in Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers season ends earlier than expected with a first-round loss.
This season will be considered a failure by some, a “what if” for others, and a forgettable one for most of Laker nation. The reality is that the season had red flags all year long.
Let’s see why this year was simply not meant to be for the Lakers.
The Lakers began the year with the shortest offseason in NBA history. There probably isn’t a bigger challenge than that in the NBA. Only 71 days to rest, build a new roster, practice, and get ready for the new season. This was clearly the factor that caused the Lakers most of their problems throughout the season. It’s not a coincidence that the other team under the same circumstances, the Miami Heat, had the same struggles as the Lakers. Also, both of them had the same results, a first-round exit.
So, what did the short offseason do? It didn’t allow the Lakers to rest and be ready for the new season.
And that clearly affected Anthony Davis more than anybody else. He struggled since day one, averaging just 22 points until his Achilles injury that caused Davis to miss more than 30 games. And that’s another effect of the short offseason, injuries.
Davis just did not come ready for the new season, and the Lakers still started 22-7. The team was looking like the defending champions and favorites to repeat, but injuries changed everything. First, it was Davis with his Achilles, and then LeBron James with the high ankle sprain. The Lakers also had Gasol and Schröder in the Covid protocols. The team simply never had time to actually play together and develop chemistry.
And at the end of the regular season, the Lakers barely recovered both Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who were clearly not 100%. They went through a tough play-in game against the Warriors. After that, the Lakers had to face the Suns in round one. And then the last straw happened, in the middle of game 4 with the Lakers having a 2-1 series lead. Anthony Davis has a groin injury, a consequence of playing through many other injuries. And that ended the series, with the Lakers losing 3 straight games.
This season just wasn’t meant to be for the Lakers.
It’s time for the team to re-load and come back stronger than ever for next season.
Featured Image: Ashley Landis/AP