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5 Reasons Why The Lakers Will Not Win The Title This Year: LeBron James Is Not Playing On A Championship Team

5 Reasons Why The Lakers Will Not Win The Title This Year: LeBron James Is Not Playing On A Championship Team

The Los Angeles Lakers have been the most disappointing team in the league this season. After all, a 16–15 record through 31 games is simply not good enough considering the amount of superstar talent on the roster. LeBron James, despite his age, is still an incredible player and he still has Anthony Davis by his side. This duo dominated the NBA during the 2020 “Covid” season en route to an NBA title, so they have chemistry on the court and plenty of playoff experience.

Not to mention, Los Angeles brought in some big names including Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and some other capable role players. With head coach Frank Vogel returning to the squad and Talen Horton-Tucker continuing to gain experience, the Lakers still have parts of the 2020 championship core intact. Yet, the Lakers have played mediocre basketball at best and always seem to struggle against good teams on a nightly basis. Sure, they can beat up on less talented teams any day of the week, but they run into trouble when their talent alone does not win games.

Looking at the Lakers’ play so far this year and the current landscape of the league, Los Angeles does not have enough to win a title this year. There are simply too many factors in play that go against the Lakers, and the team will not be able to overcome them as currently constructed. Despite holding a playoff spot with the 7th seed at the moment, here are the 5 reasons the Lakers will not win the NBA championship this year.

5. LeBron James Is Old, But So Are His Teammates

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LeBron James is doing amazing things at nearly 37 years old, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. The King is averaging 25.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 6.8 APG while shooting 50.1% from the field. These are extraordinary numbers for a player that has handled so much over his career, whether it was on or off-court pressure. But turning 37 is a sign that James will start showing lapses in his play if he hasn’t done so already. LeBron needs more help than ever in his career at this stage because Father Time will always be undefeated.

With an older LeBron James on the roster, the Lakers do not have a consistent “bailout” option they could pull in previous seasons. Rather, the team needs to bail LeBron out at times because it is only fair considering what The King has been through over his illustrious career. Even if James is the best all-around talent on the team, he cannot produce at an MVP level every night like Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook should. Unfortunately for LeBron, his supporting cast is also old.

Carmelo Anthony is 37 and going on 38, Dwight Howard is 36, DeAndre Jordan is 33, and even Russell Westbrook is 33 years old. Quite simply, the Lakers cannot rely on any player in their rotation because their key players are past their primes. Even shooters such as Wayne Ellington (34), Trevor Ariza (36), and Kent Bazemore (32) are not getting younger at all. An older LeBron with an older supporting cast is not the best way to create a championship team.

4. Los Angeles Will Not Capture A Top-3 Seed In The Western Conference

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

With the 7th seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers are clinging to playoff seeding at this stage. With nearly half the season out of the way, we have seen enough to conclude that the Purple and Gold are not capturing one of the top-3 seeds in the conference. Quite frankly, if not for LeBron James’ flashes of brilliance at points throughout the season, the Lakers are not a playoff side by any means. They lack consistency on both ends of the court and have to rely on LeBron, Davis, or Westbrook to have big games to pull them out of a mess.

All 3 of those stars have not been consistent either (more on that later), and even head coach Frank Vogel is coming under pressure for not leading this team to one of the top seeds in the West. With drama on and off the court, the Lakers are not good enough to be a top-3 seed which means they will have no advantage in the playoffs. More specifically, Los Angeles look like a play-in team which makes matters even worse for them.

Not making the playoffs immediately hurts the Lakers, because it requires them to play extra games at the end of the regular season to earn playoff seeding. For an older roster built around a soon-to-be 37-year-old LeBron, this is not great news. Rather, Los Angeles will fight every game to get closer to playoff seeding which means fatigue and lack of home-court advantage could be the end of their title run. If playoff seeding does not kill the Lakers’ season, a couple more factors certainly will.

3. Competition Around The League Is Too High

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The competition around the league is very high right now, with multiple teams vying for the championship in each conference. All of the best teams in the NBA have shown enough consistency on the court through 28+ games, and have a strong pool of talent at the moment. The reigning NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks are stacked with talent, as 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo headlines at only 26 years old. The Greek Freak is an unstoppable player with his size and all-around skills, and he has a ton of help.

Khris Middleton is the perfect sidekick to Giannis because he shoots the three well (career 39.3%) and defends at an above-average level. Not to mention, Middleton is clutch and has shown that many times during last season’s playoff run. Jrue Holiday is also an above-average two-way player that completes a strong Big Three in Milwaukee. The Bucks are also fighting for recognition as the best team in the East with the Brooklyn Nets. Speaking of Brooklyn, they have the best player in the world in Kevin Durant. Once James Harden returns to MVP form and Kyrie Irving (possibly) returns to the court, the Nets will be in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Even the Miami Heat are a better team than the Lakers because they have a top-10 player in the game in Jimmy Butler and a solid supporting cast including Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. With a championship-level head coach in Erik Spoelstra, Miami is also a dark horse for the NBA Finals as they were in 2020. The Chicago Bulls have 2 players in the MVP race and a host of hard-nosed former Lakers (Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso) who will believe they can take the Lakers in any series. These four teams in the East are all better than the Lakers and will take it to Los Angeles in a 7-game series.

In the West, it is the exact same thing. The Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are neck and neck for the #1 seed in the West, and arguably the two best teams in the league. The Suns made the Finals last year, and have their core of Chris Paul and Devin Booker returning at full strength. There is no way the Lakers beat the Suns even if Anthony Davis is fully healthy. Similarly, the Warriors will be a force with Klay Thompson and will outplay the Lakers on both ends of the court. The Jazz do not have superstars, but no one can deny that they play better than Los Angeles do on defense.

With this type of competition around the league, the Lakers will not grab a top-3 seed in the West nor defeat any of the above-mentioned teams in the Western Conference Finals or Finals.

2. The Russell Westbrook Experiment Has Been A Disaster

Russell Westbrook

Unfortunately for Russell Westbrook, this season has not helped his reputation as an individual star that does not impact team success. The former MVP is averaging 19.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 8.3 APG through 31 games, but is only shooting 31.4% from three and 65.9% from the free-throw line. As an inconsistent shooter that does not fit next to James and Davis, the Westbrook experiment has been a disaster with the Lakers. While his production has not been bad on paper, the fact that the Lakers went for Westbrook instead of other players such as DeMar DeRozan or Buddy Hield makes this much worse.

Westbrook is erratic, and he will always play the game his way. He offers little to nothing on defense because he is getting older and gambles too much. Bringing in Westbrook and losing Alex Caruso means Los Angeles took a massive hit on defense, an aspect the team is struggling with this year. Even if Westbrook is a former MVP and a top-75 player ever, he was never the right fit for the Lakers. By building the team around 3 superstars that do not fit together, the Lakers have set themselves up for failure.

1. Anthony Davis Is Always Injured

Anthony Davis

Even with a ton of factors going against the Lakers on the court, the biggest reason the Lakers will not win the NBA title is that Anthony Davis struggles to keep healthy. Davis has averaged 23.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 2.0 BPG this season with the Lakers. His numbers are solid as usual, but his impact has not been there. It might be because the big man is fearful of getting hurt again after his injury killed the Lakers’ title chances last year. Once again, AD is out for at least 4 weeks with an MCL sprain.

With Davis worried about his body and not dominating the court as the best big man in the league, the Lakers have not found success on the court. But with Davis out of the lineup completely, the Lakers will probably struggle to make the postseason. The big man is essentially the core of everything Los Angeles does on the floor, and LeBron James trusts Davis to be the primary scorer, rebounder, and defender on the team. With Davis absent, an inconsistent Westbrook and an older LeBron James will not be enough. There are 5 major reasons why the Lakers will not win the 2022 championship including heavy competition and the issue of youth, but Anthony Davis not playing at an elite level when healthy is the biggest concern. 


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