The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a tough spot heading into the final stretch of the NBA season, sitting three games back of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The next few weeks will determine their ultimate fate, making it do or die time in Los Angeles.
On this episode of the LN Podcast, host Trevor Lane is joined by Corey Hansford to discuss what the Lakers need to do in order to make the playoffs. While there are a number of areas of focus, defense, which has slipped to 27th in the NBA over the last 15 games, seems to be the most pressing concern.
It’s no coincidence that Lonzo Ball, who is arguably the team’s best defender, has been unavailable due to a sprained ankle. His return will be a welcome sight for the Lakers, but can he hit the ground running and perform at the level the team needs coming off of a difficult injury?
That’s a question that could also be asked of LeBron James, who is still recovering from a groin injury that caused him to miss 18 games. He hasn’t quite looked like himself, and questions remain about whether or not he can turn it on down the home stretch and carry the team to the postseason. He did it last season with the Cavs, but at 34-years-old we know he will start slowing down at some point.
If James does indeed need help to get the team to the playoffs, which young player can step up? Will Kyle Kuzma find a way to rebound and defend at a high enough level? Can Brandon Ingram continue his solid play on the wing and perhaps get back into a rhythm from behind the arc?
Plenty to discuss in this packed episode.