NBA 2018-19 Playoff Chances: The Los Angeles Lakers seem destined for failure
The Los Angeles Lakers were considered one of the strongest teams in the NBA this season, based just on one simple fact: They signed the best player in the NBA, LeBron James in the offseason, which instantly made them one of the best teams in the league again. Yet, they have been abysmal this season, with injuries to almost all their starters, James, forcing them to drop out of the playoff spots.
The Lakers have not had that bad a season. But when you have arguably the greatest player in NBA history on your team, the expectations bound to you are always at a greater level. They are currently 10th in the Western Conference, with a 30-33 record and are 4.5 games behind the 8th seed San Antonio Spurs and 5 games behind the 7th seed Los Angeles Clippers. With this in mind, let us look at the playoff chances for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
1. Kyle Kuzma:
Kyle Kuzma has been a revelation since he was picked as the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He has been the livewire for the Lakers since the start of the season, becoming a great scorer. Kuzma has averaged a career-high 18.9 points per game this season, a jump from his 16 points per game last season.
He is getting 5.6 rebounds per game as well and is great as a stretch 4 for the Lakers. His stint at the 5 has not been fruitful but he can play the 5 in a small ball lineup, giving the Lakers something to work with. He has been a really bright spot in a rather underwhelming season for the Lakers, where they look destined to drop out of the playoff race.
2. Brandon Ingram:
Brandon Ingram had been a shell of himself all season in the 2018-19 games. He has been unable to find a role next to LeBron. Ingram was not a shooting guard, neither a power forward and it had started affecting his game. A 4 game suspension after a tussle with the Rockets and an injury in the middle had only dropped his stock further.
When LeBron went down with an injury, Ingram shone brightly for them and has not let go since. He has averaged 18.3 points per game this season, along with 5.1 rebounds and 3 assists as well. In the month of February, Ingram was superb, scoring 21.3 points a game, along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game, showing that he really can switch gears if given a chance. With him and Kuzma, the Lakers' future looks bright.