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The Los Angeles Lakers, champions of the 2019-20 Bubble season, have long been cast as favorites in the Western Conference this year, primarily due to the triumvirate of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
So far the results aren’t panning out.
Entering Thursday’s action, the Lakers held the No. 6 seed in the West with a mediocre record of 12-11 — just one game ahead of the No. 10 seed. They’ve allowed more points on the year than they’ve scored. Ever since opening the season with a nationally-televised loss to the Golden State Warriors, it’s been a rough season for the darlings of the league.
There’s no shortage of things to point to when assessing what’s gone wrong for Los Angeles, but fans primarily point to two things: age and a lack of depth. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts poll of NBA fans, these are the main reasons for the Lakers’ mediocre start.
Those are fair concerns. The Lakers roster features a whopping seven players aged 33 or older, and the bench production has been sorely lacking. Los Angeles traded Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards this offseason in exchange for Westbrook, sacrificing a lot of quality depth. All three of those outgoing pieces are currently shining for a surprisingly-good Wizards team.
Elsewhere in the land of NBA polls, fans have chosen 2020 No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards as the most impressive second-year player in the NBA. The Minnesota Timberwolves blossoming star narrowly edged out reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.