It wasn't long ago that ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith was high on the Lakers as title favorites. In fact, he has gone on record as saying the team is capable of winning multiple Championships during the LeBron James era.
But with L.A. in a serious rut, and LeBron not quite looking like himself, Smith has developed some reasonable doubts about the Lakers, and went on First Take to lament about the current condition of "King" James.
"I think he was right on the money when he said if he ain't 100%, they ain't coming out of the West, I think even he knows that. LeBron looks like a shell of himself right now.
And when you look at the Los Angeles Lakers right now, they're out of synch... and without LeBron James, the offense just isn't what it used to be. There's just too much formidable opposition in the Western Conference for LeBron to be less than 100%. As far as I'm concerned, if the playoffs started right now, I wouldn't pick the Lakers to reach the Conference Finals."
Amid a 3-game losing streak, the Lakers are certainly giving their fans some reason to panic.
The chemistry is off, the supporting cast has been inconsistent, and (most worryingly), LeBron James has not looked right since his return.
In a Conference so loaded with talent, it will take a healthy LeBron and Anthony Davis for the Lakeshow to repeat the success they had a year ago. At this point, nobody is sure if they're capable of pulling it off.