The Los Angeles Lakers have made a plethora of moves this offseason that has created a significant amount of buzz around the organization centered on the acquisition of All-Star forward LeBron James.
However, Kevin Pelton of ESPN has the Lakers currently projected outside of the top eight records in the Western Conference falling short of reaching the playoffs in the 2018-19 season.
This season's projected playoff teams don't include the new-look Lakers. pic.twitter.com/TeqYtD3or6
— ESPN (@espn) August 3, 2018
These are among the first early projections that have the Lakers pitted out of the playoffs as the team has become a popular pick to reach that stage. James is still playing some of the best basketball of his career entering his 16th year in the league while the team has added several proven veterans such as Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley while bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
This is pair alongside their young promising core group that features the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart. The mixture of these veterans along with young talent has many buzzing that the franchise can make a significant leap forward. However, it should be noted that the Lakers have missed the playoffs in each of the last five years, which is the longest postseason drought in team history.
What should be noted is that this mixture of players has yet to take the floor together in a game yet which has led to them being projected on the outside looking for the postseason. At the same time, it is hard to count out that James can’t lift the Lakers into playoff contention behind his stellar around play and ability to make his teammates better around him.
It would also be reasonable to believe that the young core group can take another leap forward toward becoming more consistent factors on both ends of the floor. Nonetheless, these projections can be used as extra motivation for the Lakers on the court next season.
Bob Garcia IV
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