Latest posts by Brandon Williams (see all)
The Los Angeles Lakers are having trouble — again.
With last night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers have now lost three out of their last four games in LeBron James‘ absence.
The fact the Lakers are losing may or may not be a shock to some, but the manner in which they have lost these games is what is problematic. And for that, the probability of a change or changes may be in store much sooner than later.
James is in win-now mode. He’s been that way since year seven in the league when the entire basketball world wanted to see him win his first NBA title in the same number of years Michael Jordan did. While that didn’t happen, James has made it no secret how he covets the G.O.A.T. moniker, and winning championships — in his mind — gives him the edge.
As this team is currently constructed, and how they have played without him, has given he along with Lakers brass little confidence that championships can be won.
To further exacerbate these issues, current coach, Luke Walton alluded to a divide in their loss against the Clippers recently. “I felt like we kind of started to splinter a little bit while it was happening,” Walton speaking about the 22-0 run the Clippers went on in the fourth quarter. “That can’t happen. We can lose games, but we’ll lose them together.”
Making matters worse, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka witnessed Thunder forward, Paul George put on a show with an electrifying 37 points, with 20 coming in the second half. Watching the destruction from George at home had to sting for Johnson knowing his presence on this team alongside James would have made them instant title contenders this season.
For that reason, it’s time for Johnson to pull the trigger now.
There’s no more time to wait. Anthony Davis, despite reports from the Pelicans of him not being dealt, is par for the course for James and the Lakers.
Not only that, the direction in which Johnson wants to go with the current coaching staff needs to be finalized immediately. If Walton is the coach for the future, he must address it and state that. If not, it’s time to cut ties and begin the search and let the season play out trusting James as the de facto coach (as he has been known to be at times anyway).
What cannot happen is more of these slides. The season is almost halfway over, and the Lakers — albeit minus James recently — are back to square one when Johnson reportedly chided Walton for lack of offensive game plans and defensive structure.
The current players are not enough to win — or at least win within this current system. Change must occur. Whether it be via trades, new coaches, or both. Something has to happen, and it must happen quickly.