The 2022-23 NBA season has been a tale of two teams for the Los Angeles Lakers. After governor Jeanie Buss and the front office opted not to make any offseason trades surrounding Russell Westbrook, the Lakers began the season 2-10.
They fought through the 2-10 start to hover close to .500, but could never get over the hump as injuries and lackluster performances plagued them. They were 15-21 when the calendar flipped to 2023 and 25-31 when they made a host of moves at the trade deadline to completely overhaul their roster.
Since Feb. 10 — including the Play-In Tournament and the Playoffs — the Lakers are 22-10. That’s the second-most wins in the NBA at the second-highest winning percentage in that span. The Philadelphia 76ers have more wins at a higher percentage.
Buss credited the team for powering through the difficult start to get to where they are now, according to Natasha Dye of People:
“I’m proud of this Lakers team this season,” Buss, 61, tells PEOPLE. “We started off poorly, and it would’ve been easy to give up,” she admits.
What Buss found most impressive about the Lakers’ turnaround is the chemistry they built with one another very quickly after coming together in February.
“These guys committed to each other and really came in the second half of the season and made a nice playoff push, which is really what the fans want,” the Lakers president explains.
To go from 13th in the Western Conference to seventh in under two months is an incredibly difficult feat. There were many times throughout that span that it looked like they were running out of time to make an impact on the postseason picture.
But they ultimately landed the No. 7 seed, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Play-In Tournament. They are now just one win away from upsetting the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Regardless of how they finish the season, they can be proud of the work they put in just to get to this point. And they can definitely look forward to what’s in store for the 2023-23 season with a far more cohesive roster.
LeBron James vows to be better in Game 6
LeBron James was one of the team’s several poor performers in their Game 5 loss to the Grizzlies. He finished with just 15 points on inefficient shooting numbers. But he vowed that he would put together a better performance in a must-win Game 6 to help close out the Grizzlies.
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