The Los Angeles Lakers have obviously put together a great team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Kuzma being at the core of it.
However, the Lakers are still in the midst of a team-long six-year playoff drought. It’s one that many incorrectly thought would end during the 2018-19 NBA season after signing James.
Now with a completely reshaped roster that’s far better than any team the Lakers have had since the 2009-10 season, the purple and gold have aspirations of a 17th championship, which would tie the Boston Celtics for most all time. To do that, the Lakers first need to break that pesky playoff drought.
Kuzma has seen what lofty aspirations can do to a team after last season and is keeping his goals in check, saying that his first and only goal right now is to get to the 2020 NBA playoffs, according to Brendan Savage of MLive:
“We got to make the playoffs,” he said Thursday at Powers Catholic on the opening day of his second annual free basketball camp for local youngsters. “That’s the most important thing. We haven’t made the playoffs in a couple of years.”
Kuzma is hopefully aware of the fact the Lakers drought goes beyond just ‘a couple of years,’ but rather six since they last made the playoffs and seven since they last got out of the first round. It’s this drought that has made Kuzma focused on getting the team back in:
“That’s the No. 1 goal now.”
The assumption is the Lakers will have no problem making the playoffs, simply due to the tandem of Davis and James. And while this will most likely be the case, the Western Conference is the most difficult it’s ever been.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Portland Trail Blazers all have All-Star player duos of their own. Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz have put together two of the NBA’s deepest rosters.
If one or more of the New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs exceed expectations, then there’s a chance that some from that top tier group might be knocked out of the postseason.
The Lakers need to rely on more than just Davis and James if they want one of those eight playoff spots. And while it’s something that will most likely happen, it’s smart of Kuzma and others to remain cautious given the team’s recent history.