The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting for the playoff lives in the Western Conference with an All-Star break record of 19-39 good for 14th and seven games out of the 8th spot. The team is young and will need to go on one heck of a run but never say never. The Lakers are staring down the possibility of another Lottery season and if so, they must find themselves falling into the right position or their bad season could turn into a nightmare if they have to give their first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Here is the Midseason Report Card for the Los Angeles Lakers.
D’Angelo Russell looked poised for a breakout season after taking Summer League by storm in 2016 but that has not transferred to the regular season. His 14 points are not bad but the assists total of five gives the notion that he’s not quite ready to be a floor general. Nick Young has been a surprise, especially when the Lakers started out the year red-hot but his play has declined over the last month and the Lakers record has tumbled with it. Lou Williams is still a perimeter threat but he’s not supposed to be the team’s leading scorer at 18 per game. The Lakers are still waiting for Jordan Clarkson to kick it into gear and if he’s not careful he may find himself on the trade block. GRADE B-
Julius Randle has been somewhat of a disappointment this year. He can get a double-double in his sleep but seems to drift from game to game. His per of 13 points and eight rebounds are good but for a player that is the dominant post option for the Lakers, he should be floating around the 20/10 mark easily. Brandon Ingram has struggled in his rookie season and that was to be expected. However, Luke Walton must get the kid on the floor more and give him a chance to grow. Larry Nance Jr may be wasting his talents on this team as he must find playing time behind the likes of Luol Deng, Ingram and Randle. Deng has trade bait written all over him due to his inability to live up to that huge free agent contract. He should be the leader of this team but has failed tremendously. Grade C-
Timofey Mozgov has a per of seven points and five rebounds and a bank account that is way too heavy for those numbers. The Lakers inked him to a deal to be the defensive anchor for this young team and he has let them down. Ivica Zubac has great in his spot duty and if Walton were to give him Mozgov minutes he will produce at a higher rate. The surprise is the play of Tarik Black. It’s time that he’s inserted as the full-time starter. He plays with the passion that’s needed to win. Grade D