Lakers Notes: Playoffs, Walton, Ball, Ingram

In an NBA Insiders piece for ESPN, writers Kevin Arnovitz, Chris Herring, Brian Windhorst, Andre Snellings, and Kevin Pelton discuss the Lakers’ playoff chances with superstar LeBron James missing extended time with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas Day against the Warriors.

As one may expect, the consensus among the writers is that the Lakers will still probably make the playoffs, assuming James doesn’t suffer a setback during rehab and miss additional time beyond what was reasonably foreseen.

With approximately 40 games remaining, the general opinion from the ESPN scribes is that James will probably have to play somewhere around 30 to 35 of those games for the Lakers to feel safe about their playoff chances, meaning LeBron needs to be back relatively soon.

In addition to the playoff race, other topics discussed include the identity of the Lakers’ second-best player, whether the team should and/or will make a big trade before the deadline, and where the Lakers’ ceiling stacks up relative to other teams in the Western Conference. The entire article is worth a read.

There’s more from the purple and gold this afternoon:

  • If the Lakers do miss the playoffs, it will be a “nightmare scenario” for the NBA and its “broken playoff format,” writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. The Lakers could potentially miss the postseason with 45 wins while the sixth, seventh, and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference could all have losing records. Having one of its most popular franchises shut out of the playoffs while three teams in the East make the playoffs with inferior records could be the catalyst for change the NBA playoff system needs.
  • Sam Amick of The Athletic sat down for an extensive one-one-one conversation with Luke Walton to discuss him working in his dream job as the head coach for the Lakers, the team’s much-needed win in Dallas earlier this week after his challenge to his young players to play with more passion, and the overall challenge of both coaching and playing without James.
  • The Lakers continue to wait for both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to blossom into what a team ultimately expects of players taken No. 2 overall in the draft. But as Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register writes, time is running out. On July 1, the Lakers could potentially trade for the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, one of the best players in the NBA. And if they do so, both Ball and Ingram may be going to the Big Easy unless they show their worth the rest of the season.
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23 thoughts on “Lakers Notes: Playoffs, Walton, Ball, Ingram

  1. UTEP Two Step

    Why would the Pelicans want Ingram and Lonzo for Anthony Davis? Ingram is extension eligible this summer and Lonzo will be next year and neither has shown signs of being a big time player.

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    • Sports

      they’d go along with kuzma to make cap space. Kuzma is the prize.

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    • imindless
      imindless

      Uh lonzo literaly an almost triple double every game while playing lock down d and ingram shooting line is better than tatums not sure what you are watching lol

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      • Lonzo has 3 triple doubles in 95 career games. He averages 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game this year. He is not almost a triple double per game.

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  2. deano

    If Davis rejects the extension, you will never get the value you should. ZO, BI, Zu plus Pope and 2 first round picks.

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    • Chun

      The way the kids been playing! I doubt the pels would trade!

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  3. antsmith7

    Lakers best chance of getting AD is Kuzma balling out. If it’s Kuzma, Ingram, and Lonzo, plus a lotto pick if they miss the playoffs, that should get it done.

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    • Bryan

      Still think it if makes to this summer, Celts have advantage because of the picks and a few decent young guys to include

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      • dust44

        The Celts picks will b lower then previously anticipated. It will come down to who the Pels want. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart or Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram with the 2 picks. No way I c the Celtics trading Tatum or the Lakers sending Kuzma.

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  4. Some new ones here (not sure which is funnier, if truly believed):

    – The Lakers missing the playoffs is going to lead to a change in the playoff format.

    – The Lakers won’t send any really good assets to the Pels in an AD deal, so Ball and BI will be “safe” if they play like a #2 overall pick should.

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  5. Guest617

    fyi no team wants the head aches of lonzo balls dad – lakers have become a joke

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  6. Reflect

    I think Lakers are missing Rondo more than anything. Obviously LeBron is the best player on earth, but in the regular season it’s a big deal to not have a playmaker.

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    • x%sure

      James & Rondo is the 1-2. Nobody on the panel named Rondo #2, ridiculous. I found the ‘panel debate’ disappointing. We have a way of figuring out who the playoff teams are– play the games!
      I just feel like they were deciding if they want to be heard bringing up the Lakers at parties.

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  7. x%sure

    The Laker youngsters have disappointed, but I think they should have been told that James’ absence would be longer than advertised. That way they would have been better prepared to fill the vacuum. I mean I predicted the layoff, based on the way James uses his legs. Also, he signed for 4 years & wasn’t planning on working so hard this first year after a tough last year in Cleveland. So, not so hard to anticipate.

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    • So they’d play better if someone said Lebron would be out longer?

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      • x%sure

        I think the players would adjust better if they knew how long such a key player would be out.
        James has been “day to day” from the day after the injury, and the Lakers are 3-6 waiting for his return instead of re-organizing for the adsence. Maybe they have & I haven’t read it.

        Right now keeping Ingram’s trade value high might be the best objective! He has been up & down and 27% from 3 since his return. He should have been dealt already.

        Steph Curry even advised a layoff, even if the groin feels better. How long to continue the day-to-day?

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        • Ptn18

          LeBron is the greatest ever, he shouldn’t miss any time. Like punching the blackboard in the playoffs. First he fractured his hand. Then it was a sprain. Like when he gets fouled, he acts like he’s going to die. With Lebron you have no idea if he’s hurt or not.

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  8. Eric Lord

    Teams have missed the playoffs in the Western Conference with a lot of wins in the past, while teams in the Eastern Conference got in with worse records including losing records. Why is it different now? Just because it is the Lakers & LeBron doesn’t make it any different. It isn’t like the playoff rules changed during the season. The Lakers knew heading into the season that they would have to win a lot of games to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference. If they miss, it is their own fault and it isn’t a nightmare scenario for the NBA if the Lakers miss the playoffs. There will be plenty of other stars in the playoffs. The NBA doesn’t revolve around the Lakers.

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