Given that they were coming off of a championship in 2020, the 2020-21 NBA season turned out to be a real disappointment for the Los Angeles Lakers, but injuries played a big role in their demise.
LeBron James missed nearly a month with a high ankle sprain, causing him to not look 100% heading into the postseason and Anthony Davis dealt with a slew of injuries, specifically a mysterious calf injury that kept him on the sideline for close to two months.
The Lakers ultimately lost their first-round playoff series to the Phoenix Suns after having to play a one-game play-in game against the Golden State Warriors, but this may not have been the worst thing for them.
Los Angeles was exhausted both mentally and physically after their NBA Bubble championship and they only had 50 days between the end of one season and the start of the next. Pair that with the fact that they had numerous back-to-backs and travel days and the Lakers just looked like they were running on fumes early on in the 2020-21 season.
Now, the Lakers finally had time to rest up and relax, which will definitely prove to be useful entering the 2021-22 season. Plus, GM Rob Pelinka did what he does best and completely flipped this roster around to add former All-Stars and key bench talents in order to help the Lakers chase championship No. 18.
LeBron James is now the longest tenured Laker and he will not only be accompanied by Anthony Davis this season, but Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker and Marc Gasol.
The Lakers still have three other roster spots to fill out before the start of next season as well, giving them plenty of other key options to add to their stacked looking roster.
Once again, the mentality for the Los Angeles Lakers is “championship or bust,” which will make for a very interesting season to say the least. LeBron’s quest for ring #5 starts on October 19th as the Lakers host the Warriors on Opening Night, but before this game is played, let’s take a look at three early bold predictions for Los Angeles heading into the 2021-22 season.
Lakers will look a little out-of-rhythm to begin the year
When you look at their roster, it is hard to imagine that the Lakers would have any problems whatsoever, but this team has been completely flipped and only four players from last year’s squad remain: LeBron, AD, Horton-Tucker and Gasol. We could easily say that everything is going to be alright, but early on, this Lakers team could actually struggle to get going.
Guys like LeBron, Russ and AD are going to be fine in terms of “getting theirs,” but the secondary talent on this team and the second-unit are going to struggle early on.
The only reason for this is because they are all on a new team, in a new system, with new star players running the show. Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and other key talents on this team are more than capable of being x-factors all season long, but it could take a week or two before they truly get going.
Last season, the Lakers got off to a really fast start, winning 14 of their first 18 games, and they could very well do so this upcoming year as well since they have Westbrook, James and Davis as their three All-Star talents, but their offense is not going to be at 100% to begin the year.