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The Lakers are the most bizarre, extraordinary and confusing team in the NBA

The Lakers are the most bizarre, extraordinary and confusing team in the NBA

By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

The team you just need to watch in the NBA at the moment is not the best team, nor the one with the best record or the best chance of winning the championship. It’s not the one with the hottest rookie or the next big star or the MVP favorite. He’s not the defending champ or the one who’s on an absolute tear.

It’s the team that’s on the fringes, about to be pushed out of the play-in tournament, a group that has no idea of ​​an imminent threat and whose record epitomizes of mediocrity.

the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers’ options for retooling their roster I THE HERD

The Lakers' options for retooling their roster I THE HERD

Los Angeles Lakers beat writer Bill Oram joins Colin Cowherd to discuss how the Lakers can change their season.

They’re not so “must see”, which indicates an attraction for all the right reasons. But they’re definitely “must see”, and the reason you don’t want to pass a game on without watching what happens is because it’s weird, extraordinary, confusing and – lately – becoming a parody of himself. .

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are as big a collection of superstar names as ever packed into one list, but they weren’t very good before Davis got injured and they’re much worse now.

Going into Thursday night’s clash with the neighboring Clippers, the Lakers have lost six of their last seven to slip to 27-34 and ninth in the Western Conference. If it was someone else in that position, our attention span would have moved elsewhere long ago.

Not so here. There’s something unmistakably confusing about trying to figure out how such a talented line-up – with James piling up the numbers at a breakneck pace – keep losing. Again and again.

They have won only once since Feb. 5, a miserable spell lasting nearly a month that has worsened over the past week. Going back further, they were down 10 of 13. They were poor on the stretch on Friday and let the Clippers close one. On Sunday, they were taken down by the lowly New Orleans Pelicans on their very own Crypto.com Arena floor. Also at home on Tuesday, Luka Doncic was above everyone else in the fourth quarter, taking over to seal a 109-104 comeback victory for the Dallas Mavericks.

Have LeBron and the Lakers officially hit rock bottom? I SPEAK FOR YOU

Have LeBron and the Lakers officially hit rock bottom?  I SPEAK FOR YOU

The Los Angeles Lakers drop 28 points at home to the No. 10 New Orleans Pelicans. Emmanuel Acho decides if the Lakers have hit rock bottom.

The flashes of excellence are there, always. In every game, even ones where he can’t help but turn the page, Westbrook does something – or several things – that reminds everyone why he was the triple-double MVP five years ago.

James, averaging 28.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists, doesn’t have many statistically bad nights. But as good as it has been this year, the Lakers’ season seems to be drifting into nothingness.

There are words of defiance spoken, most recently from James, when he colorfully insisted there was no intention of giving up on the year, bad as it looks.

“We still have games to play,” he said earlier this week. “Until you trample me, chop off my head, bury me 12 feet under, then I’ll stand a chance.”

The Lakers would have a much better chance if they thrived when things were close. During the campaign, they have played more “clutch” games (37) than any other team, defined as competitions where the gap is five points or less with five minutes remaining. They lost 20 of those 37.

Watching them feels like things are meant to stay close because they’re not powerful enough to crush teams, not good enough to get away from anyone, and have too much star power. able to inject life to blow himself up very often.

Their games are skittish at times, but if there’s a sense of inevitability associated with them right now, it’s a sense that they’re likely to mess it up again rather than knock it down.

What keeps you coming back is the nagging feeling that renewal could happen at any moment. It probably won’t, but it could. There’s a mountain of evidence that James and Westbrook can’t co-exist on the same playing field, but how is that really the final word on the matter?

Is there really no possible solution one way or another for one of the greatest players of all time and a top 75 player of all time to be teammates productive?

Russell Westbrook and Lakers reportedly have mutual interest in parting ways I THE HERD

Russell Westbrook and Lakers reportedly have mutual interest in parting ways I THE HERD

With reports surfacing that Westbrook and Lakers have a mutual interest in parting ways, Colin Cowherd explains why not only is chemistry an issue with Russ, but he’s just not a winning basketball player.

If it ever happened that they clicked seamlessly, suddenly the Lakers, especially if Davis were to come back strong, would go from being complete underdogs to a team capable of doing playoff damage.

They don’t look like that now. They tried different things and combinations. Westbrook was sometimes taken off the ground late. James tried to exert his control in different ways, in different positions. Nothing good worked.

For the moment, they remain a curiosity, a curiosity that we cannot take our eyes off. A mediocre team which may be experiencing its worst crisis of the season, but which is more interesting than ever.

If you’re a Lakers fan and you’re depressed, take heart…at least you’re not head coach Frank Vogel and you’re not in charge of trying to fix it.

And if you’re Frank Vogel, welcome to the Frank column, but sorry, we don’t have answers for you here.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.


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