1. Russell Westbrook
Despite of Russell Westbrook's flaws as an NBA player. He is indeed one of the top 20 guards of all time. After Kevin Durant leaving OKC to chase the title in the bay area. Russell Westbrook accelerated his game, during his first year without Kevin Durant. Russell played 97.5 percent of his games kept OKC thunder relevant by leading them into the playoffs during his last three years as an member of the OKC thunder. Westbrook average 31.6 points during the 2016-2017 season without Kevin Durant and dominated the league in total rebounds at 10.4 and assist with 10.4 as well. The next two season he lead the team averaging over 20 points game. Russell is also the current leader in most triple doubles in nba history with 189 and counting. Everybody knows what Russell Westbrook is capable of doing on a NBA level. The question is not about how great is he is, the question is, will he be a great fit for this team? Los Angeles Lakers struggles this year is obvious and it starts with the future hall of famer Russell Westbrook. Dominant with the ball, can attack the basket with the best of them, Russell has an eye to find players for the assist. But let's face it, because if his tenacity and is agressive nature for scoring and getting players involved can actually be a thorn for the Lakers moving forward. Russell Westbrook has a high turnover rate with 11.1 in assist. In the other side of the spectrum he leads the league with 312 turnovers. Which means he doesn't make sound decisions with the basketball. Lebron James has 168 turnovers with 7.8 assist per game so far into the season. We know how great James is as an point forward, he make crucial decisions with ball and can find his teams mates at the right place and the time. For that reason LeBron James has to orchestrate the offense. Which leaves Russell to play of the ball on some plays. Russell games is predicated on his athleticism and his ability to get to the basket at will . Russell doesn't have the skill set to play off the ball, moving to different spots in the floor and shoot. The world of basketball will probably love to see Russell Westbrook playoff screens, set picks, run around the court to catch and shoot. Russell Westbrook game is not based on that, Westbrook lives off attacking the rim, creating opportunity for his teammates, passing the basketball and speeding up the game. Which is a good asset for any ball club but for the Lakers they need more from him. Far more pressure on the defensive side, turning down the turnovers, and developing a three-point shot if not a mid range to get the offense going. In a 3-point dominant league, Russell still can be effective in today's basketball. Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, DeMar DeRozan just the name a few are awesome at the mid range . If Russell Westbrook develop a nice offensive weapon, it will really open up the floor for the Lakers, and it will force teams to react on offense. Russell Westbrook lack of control of the ball, and his inability to shoot three points can be actually detrimental to the Lakers offence.
2.Anthony Davis is Injury Prone
Anthony Davis has to play like a top five player if the Lakers want a shot of winning this year. Players like. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Karl Anthony Towns, has been proving they are elite big man, but Anthony Davis in the other man has only shown that instead of taking over a game to take less tension from Lebron, Davis had only shown that he can be a great role player. Hands down AD has been elite, but he hasn't been able to show that he can takeover games, putting up astronomical numbers for long stretches. Maybe there's other reasons why Anthony Davis is playing the way he's playing. Maybe because the roster, it how the team is structure, or the coaching style of Frank vogel. Who knows, but we all know for sure that Anthony Davis is the top five player , because his ability to be dominant in the low post, and his skills set of shooting the basketball from the mid range up to the three point, Davis also be a great defender when he puts his mind into it which can be difficult for teams to over come once AD put his mind to it. Those basketball attributes has not been at full display at its best so far this season for the Lakers. Can you imagine if AD was fully healthy against the Phoenix suns last year. The Lakers may have been 2021 NBA champs. But in reality we All know how injury prong Anthony Davis is, and this could be one of the reasons why AD can not perform at a high level during a regular season. Everyone knows how important the post season is, and during a 82 game stretch you want to make sure Davis is available, so playing smart during the regular season may be Anthony missions to stay ahead of the competition.That doesn't dismiss that fact that AD had 27 injuries during his NBA career. And now he is out for four weeks. For the Lakers to have a chance Anthony Davis must find a way to stay healthy and be dominant . Recover and focus on conditioning, changing his training, diet, he must do all he can to be able to function at a high level. Even if that means he will miss a majority of a season. Without Anything Davis there no chance that the Lakers would have a shot at competing for an NBA title this year
This year the Los Angeles Lakers are the oldest team right now with an Age average of 30.9. The Miami heat comes in second at 28.8. The Utah Jazz average in age at 28.0. On paper you have maybe five future hall of famers on this roster this year, which is amazing. PLayers like Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, all had lead franchise of there own. You would think that all this talent the Lakers would.have a chance. If you were the ask some people about this roster maybe a decade ago, there no shout of a doubt that this team could be arugubaly the greatest team assembled. For this time that we are in now, that is not the case. In reality the Lakers are older, and most of the key players are in there mid 30's. LeBron will be 37, Westbrook is 33, Dwight Howard is 36, Carmelo Anthony is 37, Rondo is 35 , and Anthony Davis is 28. The Lakers organization are actually depending on these players at their age of there career. Satiscally we know that Lebron can continue to put up big numbers, Carmelo Anthony has proved that he still belong in this league, Howard and Rondo has already won a championship with LeBron, and Westbrook is in his prime, with all these players there is a combine of experience, championship level headed players and great talent, because of their age this roster might be a concern down the road. Anything can happen with an older roster, your capable of being injured, missing games, and that's not what the Lakers need right now. With Isaiah Thomas being back on the Lakers roster, there are certainly not getting younger. The way the team is constructed may can do more harm than good .
4. LeBron Clutch & Freethrows Woes
Lebron has to close out games as a leader of this ball club. There are too has many moments where he shy away from the big stage when it comes to the game being on the line, James teammates step up for him In the clutch moments. Athletes like Ray Allen in Miami heat, Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, Anthony Davis with the Los Angeles Lakers, just to name a few. These guys has closed out games for the King. LeBron can really elevate his team if he can be aggressive in his mentality, James can take the challenge and close out games , which can make him unstoppable. During his career so far he has made eight buzzer beaters in his career, but it took him almost six seasons to do it, and he has yet to hit some with the LA Lakers, so he is more than able to do it.LeBron James currently sitting at 2nd on the overall list, Michael Jordan currently has nine buzzer-beaters. While James is yet to hit clutch buzzer beaters for the Lakers with his fourth year being on the roster, he has big moments where he hit game-winner against the Golden State Warriors during the play in tournament. LeBron can make this happen and even extend the record in the the NBA books, but it's up to him to do it and execute it. Lakers has many flaws, and LeBron has them to, and if you were to analyze his game from a shooting prospective, you will notice that James struggle at the free throw line late in the game. It has got bad to the point he air balled a shot at the free throw line last season. As LeBron gets older there no doubt that he still can ball with the best of them, but the little things that impact the game is where you find LeBron coming up short. His days as an Miami heat player LeBron never shot below 70% from the free throw line. The highest has shot in his career so far is 78% during the 2008-2009 season. Since he has been on the Lakers roster he has shot blow 70% , and for the first time as an Laker he currently shoots 75% from the free throw line. If James can manage to hit big moment free throws this Lakers team will adjust, but his weakness at the line, and clutch moments may be the Lakers reason they may miss a championship opportunity.
5. Frank Vogel
Frank Vogel is indeed is a great coach in the NBA. During his coaching journey he has many playoff appearances with a winning percentage of 53.8 percent in his career. His greatest run as an head coach was with the Indiana pacers where he had the young Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Roy Hilbert, and George hill, that squad was able to compete against LeBron James and the Miami heat during the 2013 NBA playoffs. Unfortunately the Indiana pacers came up short losing that playoff run 4-3 . Despite Frank Vogel failure attempts as a head coach, he manage to win a title as a head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, but what made him a great coach. Vogel is always been about defense, and creating offence from the defense side of the ball. Vogal ingenuity when it comes to defense of pressure has not yet been displayed so far during this season. During their championship run in the bubble, the Lakers had more length with players like Javale McGee , who has tremendously improved, and Dwight Howard as there bigs, now this year Lakers no longer have McGee, and Howard is out of the line up, Even when Dwight was present , he wasn't getting minutes as usual. There only so much James can do, he must conserve all his energy on the offense of the ball, to help this team win. So other players like Howard, Anthony,Monk, has to step up . During this season there been teams suffering from the COVID-19 protocols, which lead players to be in and out the lineup which can sometimes compromise your chances of winning meaningful ball games. Frank must find a way to vocally to implement new strategies into his players, get them in position to be in rhythm so the Lakers can impact these basketball games. Rather it be collectively or individually Vogel coaching can actually make this Laker team a defensive success. Those hopes of them turning into a defensive team may he out reach especially if Davis is out of the line up.