The Los Angeles Lakers this season might be the team that has underwhelmed expectations more than any team before them. Considered to be among the favorites for the NBA title before the season began, they currently find themselves outside the play-in spot after their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Not even making the play-in would be a horrific result for the organization, something Kendrick Perkins recently pointed out as well.
The Lakers are now 1 game behind the San Antonio Spurs, who also hold the tie-breaker over them, effectively making it a 2-game lead for the last play-in spot. With just 5 games left to play, that deficit is very difficult for the Lakers to make up, especially because the Lakers have managed to win just 2 of their last 10 games.
What's also working against the Los Angeles Lakers is the schedule they have left. Not only do they play the best team in the NBA in the Phoenix Suns, but they also have to face a Denver Nuggets team jockeying for strong seeding twice. The Golden State Warriors are also on the list, which will certainly prove to be a tricky proposition even without Steph Curry in the picture.
The team that they have to topple, the San Antonio Spurs, will also face the Warriors and the Nuggets but their next game is against a Portland Trail Blazers team that is also struggling massively and is already eliminated from contention for the play-in. The Spurs are also in decent form themselves, having won 6 of their last 10.
LA does have Anthony Davis back but there is barely been any time for him to get back to his best. His first game back against the Pelicans ended up in a loss, and the Lakers' situation now seems to be almost untenable. They could still go 5-0 in their remaining games somehow, but they will also need San Antonio to lose, and based on the evidence so far, that scenario just doesn't seem very likely.