2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers season: can LeBron and AD take the team back to the top?

The 2022-23 Lakers seem to be capable of increasing their level of embarrassment every single week. In a recent postgame news conference, coach Darvin Ham brought up the team’s high payroll figures and even slipped in a reference to the Lakers’ luxury tax burden, thus cautioning his players not to expect some sort of magical trade solution. All of that without even playing 20 games in the regular season.

This season, Los Angeles has become a target for any NBA team. However, being this poor with two top-20 players on the squad is really challenging. In all honesty, having LeBron James and Anthony Davis come into your organization and then building a team that most likely won’t even make the playoffs is even hard to imagine… but the Lakers have accomplished that.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that LeBron James and Anthony Davis need to improve their start to the 2022–2023 NBA season if the Los Angeles Lakers wish to contend for a playoff spot. However, according to an NBA executive, LeBron James is not even a top alternative for the Lakers due to the low figures presented so far in the season. “LeBron doesn’t even look like the main option right now,” the executive said. “Neither does Davis.”

Before the start of the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers were ranked among the favorites to win the league title. However, with all theses struggles and turbulence with less than 20 games into the regular season, the Lakers have slipped off the title discussion and are currently at +200 odds to even make the playoffs, according to bookmakers like Bet365 – you can use Bet365 bonus code to bet on the Lakers making the playoffs, if you think LeBron and Anthony Davis will be able to turn things around for the team.

LeBron James’ production so far

This season, LeBron James has a 24.9 point per game average. For an NBA player, those are not bad numbers. However, we are used to LeBron playing at a whole different level than what we’re seeing in 2022.

Since James was a rookie, his scoring average has never been lower than 24 points per game. LeBron, though, saw a decline in his field goal percentage as well. James has been shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc – the lowest figures since his first season in the league.

LeBron James has one of the lowest three-point percentages in the whole league, according to the NBA’s statistics, which only include players who have attempted at least 50 threes.

Anthony Davis numbers

With 22.5 points and 11 rebounds per game, Anthony Davis averages a double-double. However, throughout the current season, his three-point shooting efficiency decreased to 23.1%.

Not only that but, with less than 20 games into the regular season, Anthony Davis is already dealing with injuries and a recurrent back issue. With head coach Darvin Ham playing him at the five, he’s being manhandled by the bigger centers in the league – something that has not been helping his health – and has been unable to perform as expected.

With such poor performances, rumors began to surface pointing to a trade scenario involving AD. However, the Lakers front office has dismissed these rumors, saying there’s no possible trade scenario in which they get rid of Anthony Davis.

Lakers to resist trading first-round picks

Many are interested in the potential Myles Turner and Buddy Hield trade with the Indiana Pacers, but that wouldn’t make the team a title contender, so the front office is reluctant to part with both of those first-round picks.

Since those two draft picks are the team’s only real tradable assets at the moment, the Lakers management is exercising extreme caution and does not want to trade them for just anyone. In this situation, it is perhaps best to be cautious and selective about who they trade them for.

And given how badly the Lakers have performed thus far and how clearly they are out of the running for a title, it seems more likely that the front office will decide to hang onto those draft picks.

According to the latest sports news, if the Lakers continue to struggle like they have this season, they may be less willing to trade those picks. They are better suited staying put and hoping to add players through free agency next summer when they will have true salary cap space because no current deal would make them a contender.

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