Nov 15, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton reacts during a NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Nets 125-118. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite the hot start, the latest Lakers rumors is that they are not a playoff team.
Luke Walton has the 2016 Lakers looking like a playoff team through the early games. They are currently flirting with .500, and through the first 11 games they were 7-4.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Lakers would be the 8th seed facing the LA Clippers.
The Clippers are known for choking in the last couple of seasons, so the young Lakers would have that in their favor as well. Right now, Doc Rivers and the Clippers aren’t in bad shape, though.
If you consider being the best team in the league to mean anything, that is.
However, this would make for an intriguing playoff series as Luke Walton would be coaching against same-city rivals.
Unfortunately, the playoffs don’t start for another 71 games.
All that being said here are two reasons why this 2016 Lakers team is not a playoff team.
Nov 13, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) shoots in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles has a young team with a few seasoned veterans on the team.
The first reason this team is not a playoff team is because of their age. The young players are between 19 and 24, and have inexperience on a NBA playoff team. These players were not on the Lakers the last time they made the playoffs, with the exception of about maybe three of them.
They all as a whole unit together haven’t been on a playoff journey together.
That doesn’t mean this year they can’t make it their. Yet due to their inexperience in the NBA, they are not a playoff team.
Nov 4, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. (7) loses the ball while being fouled by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Injuries are the second reason the Lakers are not a playoff team.
Yes, this team is playing like a playoff team so far, but some of their key stars have had injuries early on.
These injuries slightly affected them.
D’Angelo Russell has been battling a knee injury and they have lost the games he hasn’t played in. Even some of the veterans like Luol Deng in the first few games of the season had to sit out due to injury or soreness. Even Larry Nance, Jr. and Timofey Mozgov were out a couple games from freak accidents on the court.
Players out with injuries disrupts the chemistry.
If these players continue to have ongoing injuries, miss a few games, then come back I think it will mess up the chemistry the team is building on.
Nov 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) is fouled by Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (5) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Bulls won 118-110. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
This is a young team riddled with injuries and If they are going to make the playoffs they will need to stay healthy throughout the season and during the post-season.
They are young with little to none experience in the NBA Playoffs.
Yes, they have veterans to lead them their, yet the young players also have to want it. They were doing great looking like a playoff tam the first 11 games, then lost their last 3 games.
They need to put that besides them, come together as team, keep building their chemistry to continue to win games to make the playoffs.
Their chemistry will be unstoppable once they build it. I like to say this Lakers team is the next “super team” of the future — similar to the Warriors.
Also, they have the coach who knows how to build a “super team” in Luke Walton.