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Odds are against the Lakers making the playoffs

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

February 23rd, 2022

It’s a commonly held belief among healthcare professionals that the leading causes of ulcers are helicobacter pylori bacteria and pain-relieving NSAID medications. Although that may be true of some patients, we’ve done a little research of our own and we’ve discovered the leading cause of ulcers is simply rooting for the Lakers.

Los Angeles has caused its fans all kinds of intense gastric distress this season by blowing early leads and consistently falling short of expectations. LeBron James & Co. began the 2021-22 campaign with the second shortest odds to win the NBA Championship, but now the Lakers sit a distant 13th on the odds board after five months of head-scratching turnovers and badly squandered opportunities.

NBA Championship 2021/2022

Sat, June 18 2022, 11:58 PM

Golden State Warriors

+400

Phoenix Suns

+400

Brooklyn Nets

+650

Milwaukee Bucks

+650

Philadelphia 76ers

+700

Miami Heat

+1000

Utah Jazz

+1800

Chicago Bulls

+2500

Memphis Grizzlies

+2500

Boston Celtics

+3000

There’s plenty of blame to go around, as is often the case with a dumpster fire of this magnitude. Injuries are a big reason for LA’s slide, as LeBron, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Kendrick Nunn have all missed significant time. New acquisition Russell Westbrook has also proven to be a horrendous fit, and is posting his lowest offensive ranking since his rookie season. And don’t get us started on Rob Pelinka’s curious inactivity at the trade deadline, which was as well received as a turd in a punchbowl.

The Lakers are 27-31 and, for the first time all season, the odds suggest the league’s most glamorous team will miss the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
+100
-129

At the risk of causing any more ulcers, here are three reasons we fervently believe LA will miss the postseason.

LA won't be able to overcome Davis' absence

It's hard enough to win in the NBA when your entire roster is healthy, but it's damn near impossible when you're missing your best two-way player. That's the harsh reality facing the Lakers after Davis suffered a mid-foot sprain in a game against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 16. The eight-time All-Star will be re-evaluated in four weeks, but it's possible the Lakers may shut him down for the remainder of the season to focus on next year instead.

Davis missed 21 games earlier this season, and the results weren't pretty, as LA limped to a dismal 10-11 record during that span. The Lakers were already among the worst teams in the league in opponent points in the paint (26th) and opponent rebounding (27th), and that was with Davis in the lineup. Just imagine how many points they'll hemorrhage with their top interior defender in street clothes.

Russell Westbrook can't be counted on

Has any player ever had a shorter honeymoon with their new team than Westbrook? Fans were already calling for the former MVP to be traded five games into the season, and their discontent has only intensified since. Westbrook's poor shooting, steep athletic decline, and turnover issues have resulted in his worst statistical output in a decade, and have led to him riding the pine repeatedly in the fourth quarter. NBA 2K recently acknowledged his precarious downward spiral by downgrading Westbrook's rating to a 79 after beginning the season at 86.

Westbrook is a future Hall of Famer and a deserving member of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team, but his inability to stretch the floor have made him an afterthought in today's game. 

The Lakers have to run the gauntlet

The downside to opening the season with a series of cupcakes, as the Lakers did in October, is that LA now has the third hardest remaining strength of schedule in the league. The team’s upcoming opponents have a combined winning percentage of .538, and the Lakers’ slate includes a who’s-who of top contenders in both conferences.

Even the so-called "gimmes" aren’t exactly slam dunks. The Lakers have already lost once this season to the Spurs, whom they’ll play on March 7, and twice to the Thunder, whom they’ll face on April 8.

Somebody pass the Pepto Bismal.

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