The Los Angeles Lakers are in a very difficult position right now. Despite having a stacked team with great depth, they will suffer greatly without their two superstars on the floor. LeBron James recently went down with an injury after a clumsy play by Solomon Hill, which means he joins Anthony Davis in the DNP list for the foreseeable future.
Of course, James and Davis were the reasons the Lakers were NBA champions last year and they have a tough road ahead before they get healthy again. James is likely out for 6 weeks while the condition of Anthony Davis is still unknown. By looking ahead to the Lakers’ schedule, they might be in deep trouble. Here is how the Lakers’ schedule will likely pan out as they approach each game without their two superstars on the court.
Lakers vs. 76ers (25 March) - L
The next game for the Lakers against the 76ers will result in a loss, which will mark their 3rd straight loss. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell will be forced to have big nights, but the Sixers are too good with Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris healthy enough to impact the game without Embiid on the court either.
Lakers vs. Cavaliers (26 March) - W
At home against the Cavaliers, the Lakers will have enough in the tank to get the victory. The Lakers have a deep rotation to handle Collin Sexton and expect Harrell and company to play well enough to sneak out a difficult victory.
Lakers vs. Magic (28 March) - L
The Orlando Magic are often an afterthought, but they will get the victory against the Lakers. The Magic are fielding All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, a double-double machine, and he has too much size and skill for the Lakers’ frontcourt. No Anthony Davis means Vucevic will have his way with the Lakers.
Lakers vs. Bucks (31 March) - L
Of course, 2-time MVP Giannis will dominate this game and carry the Bucks to a blowout win. The Lakers cannot match up with Giannis without their superstars, and especially LeBron’s playmaking will be missed. There is not much more to say here, and the Bucks will have an easy win.
Lakers @ Kings (2 April) - W
After 2 straight losses, the Lakers will manage to gain a victory against the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have a ton of talent in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, but the Lakers will find a way to inch out a victory. Montrezl Harrell will play bigger than he actually is and expect big games from Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as well.
Lakers @ Clippers (4 April) - L
Arguably the most anticipated matchups during the past two years, the rivals in Los Angeles will go to war. Except the Lakers are heavily depleted. Kawhi Leonard and company will make easy work of the Lakers, and it will be an easy night for the Clippers as they cruise to a blowout win. Unfortunately for the Lakers, it will be the first of a losing streak.
Lakers @ Raptors (6 April) - L
The second straight blowout for the Lakers will come against the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have looked very inconsistent this season, but they will have enough star power in Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry to get the job done. The Lakers fight in a close first half, but they lose by double-digits.
Lakers @ Heat (8 April) - L
The third straight loss for the Lakers will come at the hands of the Miami Heat. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo should be 100% healthy for this game, which means Los Angeles suffer a blowout. The Heat play hard and when they smell blood in the water, they will go for the kill. It does not get any better for the Lakers the next game.
Lakers @ Nets (10 April) - L
Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and the Brooklyn Nets will decimate the Lakers. In a 25-point blowout, the Lakers will be outplayed on both ends of the floor and they will have no resistance to the drives of James Harden. Harden gets his triple-double, Irving drops 30+, and the Nets get an easy win.
Lakers @ Knicks (12 April) - L
For once in over 8 years, the Knicks won’t be pushovers. They are another team the Lakers will face that is above .500, and they will manage to gain a huge win over the defending champs. Of course, no LeBron James and no Anthony Davis mean the Knicks have more All-Stars on the floor than the Lakers do. The Knicks win and Lakers fans will be counting the seconds until their two stars return.
Lakers @ Hornets (13 April) - W
The 5-game losing streak will finally come to an end for Los Angeles, as they find a way to scrape together a victory against the Hornets. Charlotte are without LaMelo Ball, so the Lakers have enough talent on the court to secure a big victory. Unfortunately for them, another losing streak will start only 2 days later.
Lakers vs. Celtics (15 April) - L
The Boston Celtics are a better team than the Lakers without James and Davis, and they will earn a 15-point victory as a result. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker will have a field day with the depleted Lakers and the next 2 games will be even worse.
Lakers vs. Jazz (17 April) - L
The Lakers are hosting the best team in the NBA for 2 straight games. This means they will suffer 2 straight losses. Donovan Mitchell goes off in the first game, and Rudy Gobert dominates a miniature interior en route to an embarrassing blowout loss. As seen with Miami, Utah smells blood in the water and goes for the kill.
Lakers vs. Jazz (19 April) - L
The next game is much closer, and the Lakers put up a solid fight. But the Jazz hold on and defeat Los Angeles in a single-digit victory. The Lakers will earn some valuable experience playing the Jazz, and they will be a much better opponent for them once James and Davis return healthy to the court.
Lakers @ Mavericks (22 April) - L
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks host the depleted Lakers, and the result ends in a 4-game losing streak for the Purple and Gold. The Lakers play a close first half, but they run out of steam, and Luka and company take the game by the scruff of the neck. Expect Rick Carlisle to make sure Dallas is ready for this game.
Lakers @ Mavericks (24 April) - W
The next game is where Los Angeles gets a big win. With Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder leading the way, the Lakers get a solid result against Luka and the Mavericks. Dallas start the game slowly, and it comes back to haunt them as they cannot build a rhythm by the end of the game.
Lakers @ Magic (26 April) - W
The Lakers get another big win, this time against the Orlando Magic. The shooters in Los Angeles come to life, hitting big threes down the stretch, and fending off a stubborn Magic attack. Orlando are not much of a threat for most of the game and the Lakers take advantage much to the joy of Lakers Nation.
Lakers @ Wizards (28 April) - L
The Lakers suffer a loss only 2 days later, against Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. Washington is known to drop games they should be winning, but they won’t this time. Beal dominates the scoring charts, Westbrook gets his triple-double, and the Lakers do not have an answer offensively all game.
Lakers vs. Kings (30 April) - L
The Sacramento Kings get a solid win against Los Angeles, with star De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton having big scoring performances. The Lakers cannot stop them, and cannot find an offense effective enough, meaning they drop their second game in a row. It does not get better in their next game either.
Lakers vs. Raptors (2 May) - L
The Toronto Raptors once again make easy work of the Lakers. Siakam, VanVleet, Lowry, and the Raptors find their offensive rhythm and blow the Lakers out by double-digits. Despite a big game by Schroder and Harrell, the Lakers do not have enough and take another L on their record.
Playing 17 .500 Teams Hurts The Lakers, And They Go 5-15 Over Their Next 20 Games
The NBA is very competitive right now, and the Lakers will be going to battle with 17 .500 teams over the next 20 games. Naturally, they will have a losing record without their two stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With their record standing at 28-16 heading into the 76ers game on Thursday, the Lakers will end up with a 33-31 record after 20 hard games.
While they are still above .500, their Western Conference standings will take a big hit. Even if LeBron and Davis can manage to win most of the remaining games, the Lakers have managed to fall behind in the rankings and will likely miss out on a chance to repeat. The Clippers, Jazz, Nets, and 76ers are too good this season and the Lakers not having a top-2 seeding will come back to hurt them in the end.
Unless Los Angeles rush Anthyon Davis and maybe even LeBron James back 10 games later, they are in trouble and should be concerned. Perhaps striking a deal for an All-Star like DeMar DeRozan could help close the gap between the Lakers and the other teams in the West, because as things stand, we could be looking at a new NBA champion at the end of the season.