The Los Angeles Lakers appear to be experiencing a very difficult year of NBA championships. Having won the 2020 NBA championship, you would expect them to maintain the title in the present year of 2021. However, that has not been the case.
Factors That Have Led to Lakers’ Poor Performance
The Lakers have experienced a tough year whereby their performance has declined from before. No championship title has been forthcoming, which can be attributed to the following factors.
Health is the number one factor that determines a player’s performance. Players get injured in the process of practicing for a game or playing the actual league. The extent of injuries often determines whether a player will participate in the next game or not. Allowing an injured player to play for a team equates to jeopardizing a team’s chances for success.
A number of Lakers’ superstar players got side-lined from playing many in the season. The likes of Lebron James and Anthony Davis missed most of the games due to injuries they had suffered on their soft tissues. Lebron James for instance missed about 30 games starting mid-march. He had a sprained ankle which could not allow him to play.
Anthony Davis, on the other hand, experienced injuries to the calf and groin areas. The injuries kept him out 2 months of a regular season. When the superstar players of a team are side-lined for whatever reason, then the team’s performance dwindles. The injuries, therefore, have prevented the Lakers from playing its best players, leading to its poor performance.
2. Covid-19 Pandemic
Covid-19 has played a huge role in the Lakers’ dwindling performance. Covid-19 pandemic destabilized the NBA championship as the seasons got shortened, with some games getting canceled. Also, there were Covid-19 protocols invented to curb the spread of the coronavirus among the players.
For instance, some of the covid-19 protocol involved regular mandatory testing of all players, and the quarantining of players found to have contracted the coronavirus. The quarantine period is often up to 2 weeks. However, the period could extend depending on the health condition of a player.
Hence, the side-lining of players thought to have been exposed to or contracted the virus such as Lakers’ Marc Gasol, would impact negatively on the team as the best talents are kept off from playing.
3. Fatigue and Non-Covid 19 Illnesses
Fatigue also contributed to poor performance by the Lakers in 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the league experienced a very short offseason, as there was a struggle to keep up with the high games’ density. The rest period or offseason was shorted to a period of 73 days. This rest period of 73 days is not enough compared to the regular offseason of 174 days.
Hence, with the shortened rest period, the players do not get enough rest from season to season. This leads to the build-up of fatigue plus stress, which negatively affects the players’ performance in the games.
Players need a lot of sleep and rest to allow their muscles to relax and heal. However, if the players fail to get enough sleep and rest, they get tired and their bodies may crash. That could explain the dismal performance by the Lakers.
Also, other non-Covid-19 related illnesses could have contributed to the deteriorating performance by the Lakers in 2021. Players who get sick in the course of the league side-line themselves from the games. The best players such as Lebron James missing out on a game negatively impacts the outcome.
4. Difficulty in League Training
The Western Conference Athletic training officials have come out to state the difficulties they have experienced in the league-wide athletic training of the NBA players throughout the season. They have attributed this difficulty to two common elements.
One of the elements is the severe day-to-day covid-19 procedures. These procedures make it difficult for the training to be offered like usual. The training times are limited, and the fact that there is the aspect of social distancing, the players have to either train in shifts, making the training very irregular.
The other factor contributing to complex league-wide training is the fact that most players are increasingly being deprived of enough sleep. When an active person is deprived of sleep, it means the body is not resting enough. Hence, when players are out to train or play, they take u too much rest since the body wears out so quickly.
Another effect of the lack of sleep could be the lost shoot rounds plus practices. Because of all these, the players cannot train well, which means they are highly likely to suffer soft tissue injuries. This could have also contributed to the dismal performance by the Lakers.
Players that have been playing together for quite some time develop certain chemistry among themselves. Hence, controlling the game, making passes, and winning the games comes easy. However, maintaining the chemistry can prove to be challenging especially when some of the main players of the team are out nursing injuries and have to be replaced.
The injured or sick players can be replaced by the team’s extra players or by new sign-ins. Signing in new players by the Lakers could have contributed to its poor performance. With the best players like Lebron James and Anthony Davis out of the game, the club’s executive had to find outstanding talents to replace them for the time being.
The new sign-ins require familiarity with the rest of the players. Hence, the association has had to invent numerous ways for integrating them into the Lakers’ championship-level structure. This has proved very challenging for the Lakers as most of the time if players are not out because of injuries, they are out because of the Covid-19 restrictions. This could explain the deteriorating performance of the Lakers.
The Lakers are a strong team. You would expect them to take the title of the NBA championship as the winners. However, the Lakers have not been lucky in this year of 2021 as they have registered an almost consistent poor performance. However, the dismal performance can be a result of the above 5 factors, which can be worked on to improve performance.