After winning their 17th championship in franchise history last year, there was a lot of hype entering the season surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers not only because they were the defending champions, but because they added even more talent to their roster. With the additions of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol before the season, the Lakers were the clear favorites to win the 2021 NBA Finals, but then both Anthony Davis and LeBron James got hurt.
Davis missed nearly two months with a calf injury and LeBron James missed nearly a month with a high ankle sprain, before returning and re-aggravating his injured ankle. Now, James is still sidelined, but Davis is back on the court, even though he may not be fully 100% healthy.
With the 2020-21 NBA regular season coming to an end, there is not much time for the Lakers to start turning things around, especially if they want to avoid having the play in this year’s play-in tournament format.
Both the 7-seed and 8-seed in the playoffs this year in both conferences are not automatically in the playoffs, as they will have to participate in a play-in tournament format with the 9-seed and 10-seed in eac conference as well.
While the Lakers would probably win at least one game against the Warriors and either the Spurs or Grizzlies, Los Angeles, like every other team in the league, would prefer not to have to earn their playoff spot through the play-in tournament this year, which leads us to talking about how they can avoid this.
With four games remaining on their schedule and LeBron James’ return before the season questionable, here are three keys for the Lakers in order to avoid having to play in this year’s play-in tournament.