At this stage of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers should have been gearing up for a deep playoff run, but are just trying to stay relatively healthy.
With the Lakers missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, there can be scenarios where players start playing for themselves instead of for the team.
For Los Angeles who has a roster full of one-year deals, it could be difficult to manage for head coach Luke Walton in the final stretch.
However, Walton credited his Lakers for still playing team basketball under the circumstances, according to Kyle Goon of Orange County Register:
“This time of the season, a lot of guys are trying to get stats,” coach Luke Walton said. “But if someone was open we were making the extra pass and guys were cheering for each other and having a good time.”
Since officially being eliminated from playoff contention, the Lakers have won four out of their last five games. While this certainly does not help their 2019 NBA Draft Lottery odds, the veterans on one-year deals and South Bay Lakers have played well together.
With five games left, the Lakers have an opportunity to surpass last season’s win total. While other players believe strong individual performances will lead them to their next deals, the Lakers are showing they can reach the same goal by playing the right way.