At 11-11 on the season, the Los Angeles Lakers haven't exactly lived up to expectations as one of the most talented teams in the league.
Amid major questions about their play, FOX Sports analyst Shannon Sharpe recently shared his thoughts on the state of the Purple and Gold, stating that defense is the main reason for their struggles.
“The Lakers are in trouble because they can’t defend. You’re asking guys to defend who have never had to play defense before. I haven’t seen the consistency for me to say the Lakers are turning the corner.”
It was their defense that got the Lakers a Championship in 2020, but they haven't been able to match that effort since.
Unfortunately, faith in their abilities continues to wain, and both fans and media members have grown increasingly concerned about what they're seeing.
"At this particular juncture, a berth to the second round of the playoffs and that's about all. I'm not predicting that's gonna happen just yet, but they're giving us no to be enthusiastic. LeBron James looks relatively human. Can we count on Carmelo Anthony this year? 52% from 3-point range and 50% from the field? As good as I know he is, and as proud as I am of him of still being in this league, I don't think we can count on those numbers to continue, and then there is Russell Westbrook. [He's] averaging 18, 8 and 8, but shooting 25% from 3-point range, about 41% from the field, that's not going to cut it," Smith said.
As the 8th seed in the West, the Lakers have dug themselves an early hole this season as teams like the Warriors, Suns, and Jazz continue to demonstrate their dominance in the Western Conference.
LeBron James, who turns 37 in December, may be facing now of his toughest campaigns yet.