Lakers Fall to Bottom of NBA

Early Season Struggles

This is a picture of LeBron playing basketball.

Erik Drost

This is a picture of LeBron playing basketball.

Forward Wenyan Gabriel, a bright spot for the Lakers’ defense, contests a shot. (Erik Drost)
The focal point of the Los Angeles, as well as the NBA, LeBron James captains the offense as he brings the ball down the court. (Erik Drost)
Coming out of Oklahoma as a second-year standout, guard Austin Reaves finishes through contact given by Isaac Okoro. (Erik Drost)

The most recognizable franchise in basketball, perhaps in all of sports, fell to the bottom of their respective conference on Sunday, October 30. The Los Angeles Lakers join the Houston Rockets as two of the worst teams in the NBA after falling to the Denver Nuggets in a disappointing effort. In that contest, the Southern Californian Club gathered respectable performances from forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as much needed production from guard, Lonnie Walker IV. Despite this promising performance, it by no means alleviates the concerns surrounding the Lakers.

A prime concern early on this season has been the offense. Los Angeles’ roster features potent offensive talents in players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Lonnie Walker IV, but for some reason the team has been unable to score the ball the way they are capable. In terms of offensive production, the Lakers rank 29th in total points per game, at 105.3 per As far as individual players go, Russell Westbrook has been brutally disappointing, and at times frustrating to watch. The former MVP who once averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds per game on 42.5% shooting is now putting up 13.4 points, 4.8 assists, and 7.2 rebounds on 34.3% shooting from the field due to his abysmal decision making.

On the defensive side of things, however, they have managed to turn things around, ranking 8th in the league in points allowed, at 110.5 points per game, per Mind you, without the context of the Lakers circumstance, these stats aren’t as bad as they sound.

It started with the trade for Russell Westbrook in the offseason of the 2021 campaign, which sent the league into a frenzy. Expectations for the Lakers’ big three were astronomical. That season, the Lakers would completely miss the playoffs. Needless to say, they did not live up to expectations. In fact, they didn’t even come close.

Obviously, some changes needed to happen for the Lakers to be competitive again. So, General Manager Rob Pelinka hired assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks Darvin Ham to step in as head coach and hopefully stop the ship from sinking.

Were the Lakers turning things around?

There was a new energy surrounding Los Angeles’ treasured franchise and optimism sprung from the acquisition. The new hire of their head coach was quickly followed by key additions in the signing of Lonnie Walker IV on July 3, and their trading for Patrick Beverly on October 13. Walker, a young, athletic shooting guard from the University of Miami had proven to be a reliable source of three-point shooting and overall offensive production during his first few years in the league; both were qualities the Lakers desperately needed. Additionally, Beverly is a gritty, unfiltered, seasoned veteran who has valuable experience that Los Angeles believes can help take them to the Promised Land.

Riding the wave of excitement and optimism into the season, the Lakers have again fallen short of expectations, beginning the season with an abhorrent 1-5 record, leaving them amongst the dumpster fire organizations of the NBA at the bottom of the standings. So, the question remains: will the team from Southern Cal turn things around and make a run at a title? Will Russell Westbrook come alongside his running mates LeBron and AD the way we thought he would? Or will things come crashing down like they did the year prior and leave the basketball world disappointed in their efforts? The next 76 Laker games should be interesting…