The 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers entered the NBA’s diamond anniversary season as favorites in the Western Conference, with four of the league’s 75 greatest players and the list’s biggest snub.
In retrospect, LeBron James is 37 years old, Anthony Davis has been prone to injury throughout his career, Russell Westbrook is the lowest-efficiency superstar of his generation, and Dwight Howard is the only other player older than Carmelo Anthony who is still in his perennial All-Star prime.
It’s difficult to make those excuses when (possibly) the second-greatest player in league history cautioned critics on Twitter before the season, “Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays hurt, we’re beyond our time in this league, etc.” Moreover, the Lakers were positioned as significant preseason favorites to win the Western Conference, second only to the Brooklyn Nets for the title.
Brooklyn is attempting to join the ranks of the league’s most disappointing clubs, clinging to ninth place and two chances to advance from the play-in tournament. They’ve had two of their three greatest players in every game this season, but five, and they were barely.500 for a quarter of it with James, Davis, and Westbrook in the lineup.
Davis said the Phoenix Suns “got away with one” in the first round of last year’s playoffs because his groin injury cost him the second half of the series, even though Chris Paul was playing with one arm, and the Suns have beaten the Lakers in every way since, regardless of how many of their stars are in the lineup, according to reports. Their general manager is Rob Pelinka, but the former president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, just verified what Davis said three years ago: the Lakers are managed by stars.
According to reports, the Lakers are the only top-two favorite to miss the playoffs since preseason odds were first released before the 1984-85 season. The Lakers of this season are, without a doubt, the most disappointing team in NBA history, and it’s not even close.