The Los Angeles Lakers are likely going to miss the playoffs despite rising to as high as fourth in the Western Conference through 34 games. Injuries, leadership issues, Luke Walton’s coaching, and the front office’s questionable roster decisions all led to their slide.
The Lakers are 2-6 since the All-Star Break and look absolutely lost defensively without point guard Lonzo Ball. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach, Walton has one wish for the Lakers as they play out the season.
“I want to see us continue to grind out and start winning games again,” Walton said. “I mean, look, when things are going easy, it’s fun for everybody, you’re winning games. Where you really show what you’re made of and when you really get growth is when times are tough.
“Times are really tough right now, so I want to see our group fight out of this. I want to see our group continue to work hard, continue to compete and start winning some games again.”
The Lakers have 17 games left and almost all of them are against playoff teams. And while seeing the Lakers win would be nice, the lottery now comes into play, and winning may come at the cost of their draft pick.
The Lakers appear to have taken some measure toward shifting their focus toward the future. Walton will limit LeBron James to a rough 32 minutes per game, and possibly sit him in one half of back-to-back scenarios.
Meanwhile, out of their control and a much more serious matter, Brandon Ingram is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to an issue with a blood clot. He previously sat out two consecutive games because of a sore right shoulder.