“I don’t care how great LeBron is playing, they just don’t have enough” – Olden Polynice believes LA Lakers do not have what it takes to win championship

LA Lakers forward LeBron James shoots and draws a foul.
LA Lakers forward LeBron James shoots and draws a foul.
Justin Thomas Hamill

NBA journeyman Olden Polynice said Thursday that the LA Lakers aren't a title contender, despite all of LeBron James' efforts and a roster stocked with veteran All-Stars.

On Thursday’s Spotify podcast episode of “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” Polynice said:

“I don’t care how great LeBron is playing, they just don’t have enough”

LeBron James carrying the Lakers

LeBron James, who has scored at least 31 points in 11 of his last 12 games, is averaging 29.1 points per game. That's second in the league and his best average since 2009-10, when he won his second straight MVP award. The 37-year-old is averaging 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists along with that.

But even with James playing at his usual elite level, the Lakers (21-21) are seventh in the Western Conference.

Polynice said:

“The Lakers are not a championship-caliber team. They’re not built for the championship. I am sorry to the Lakers fans.”

Polynice is not alone in his opinion, with the disappointment of the Lakers one of the main storylines of this NBA season. Because of the offseason moves to gather almost a full lineup of All-Stars, they are seen as massive underachievers.

On Dec. 21, analyst Bill Simmons tweeted his lack of surprise with the struggles in Los Angeles:

The Lakers can’t complain about injuries when they willingly tossed away their depth and built around 3 guys: LeBron in Year 19 at 62k mins, Westbrook in Year 14, and Davis who ain’t exactly Cal Ripken. This was always stupid. From Day One. Now they have no outs.

In committing to big-name players like 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook and eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, the Lakers sacrificed a lot. Trading away many key players for their future development, they left their future runs in the hands of a small number of players.

On Aug. 6, the Lakers signed new contracts with Anthony, Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington and Howard. With such a large list of great names added to accentuate James and Anthony Davis, one would wonder how Los Angeles has managed to struggle.

Davis’ injury didn't help. He's missed 12 games so far. Davis was averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. When he returns, they will get back a notable force on both the back end and under the glass. Los Angeles is 5-7 with Davis sidelined.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin shared what his sources told him about Davis’ return:

“Anthony Davis participated in an individual on-court workout on Friday, four weeks to the day since spraining the MCL in his left knee … There is optimism within the Los Angeles Lakers organization that the star big man could return to game action sometime during L.A.’s long road trip at the end of the month.”

The Lakers will be happy when their star big man is back. But even with James playing as well as he was when he had a healthy Davis, Los Angeles still looked shaky. Only time will tell if the Lakers will be able to patch the pieces needed to work toward another playoff run.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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