The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers, costing them a number of wins as the likes of LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo have all missed multiple games.
Losing James, in particular, has been a crippling blow as the team has won just two games in seven since seeing their star go down to a groin injury. Perhaps even more concerning, however, was the lack of urgency that the banged-up Lakers have played with recently.
Despite being severely undermanned, the team is still expected to compete and play with tenacity, but recent losses to the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks have revealed apathy instead.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane and guest Allen Sliwa of ESPN discussed the team’s struggles and who should be to blame for the lack of effort displayed recently.
Is head coach Luke Walton a problem, as some have suggested, or does the responsibility to be prepared to play fall on the shoulders of the players themselves?
Additionally, with so many key pieces missing, the spotlight has fallen on Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, neither has been able to consistently take on the burden of driving the team forward.
At just 21 years old, it may be unfair to ask either of them to carry the franchise even in the short term, but the rash of injuries have necessitated someone stepping up to lead the way.
How do their struggles change the perception of them going forward as prospects and what impact could that shift make on the upcoming trade deadline? Could the Lakers be in line for a big move, or will they ride out the storm and stick with their plan to wait until next summer to find a star running mate for James?
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