ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith states the LA Lakers end their 2021-22 campaign in a first-round exit from the playoffs.
It’s been a rough ride for the purple and gold team this season as they continue to struggle with their performances. Despite LeBron James playing at an MVP level in year 19th, the Lakers are four games below +500. The plan of assembling a group of accomplished veterans hasn’t worked so far.
The team has been under constant scrutiny and a subject of numerous trolls, whether Russell Westbrook’s underperformance or Anthony Davis’ injury-prone nature. There have been murmurs of James and his agent, Rich Paul, clashing with Lakers President Rob Pelinka.
As we resume the season post the All-Star break, the Lakers sit on the 9th seed. It’s a tough road ahead for the Bubble champions, especially with Davis being out with a mid-foot sprain. During a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith revealed the ceiling for the Lakers.
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The veteran analyst doesn’t see James and co go anywhere past the first round. Smith feels the Lakers stand no chance against the Warriors, Suns, Grizzlies, Jazz, or even the Mavericks.
Stephen A. Smith gives his prediction for the Lakers.
Smith isn’t one to mince his words, recently giving his verdict for the Lakers as the road to the playoffs begins. The veteran analyst had expressed his doubts over the LA team’s off-season move, especially with the signing of Westbrook, whose shooting has always been a concern.
Though the Lakers don’t have a spot in the playoffs, there is still belief in what a LeBron James or Russell Westbrook brings to the table. Smith said the following when asked about the ceiling for the Lakers this season.
“They’re ceiling is the playoffs and first-round exit. I don’t see them beating Golden State, they ain’t beating Phoenix. They ain’t beating Memphis. They ain’t beating Utah. Hell, they might have a problem with Dallas for crying out loud, and let’s not forget the Denver Nuggets, if Jokic can get any kind of help.”
.@stephenasmith doesn’t think this Lakers squad can turn it around.
“Their ceiling is the playoffs and a first-round exit.” pic.twitter.com/F4j7roCATJ
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 24, 2022
Though Smith has faith in the abilities of James and Westbrook, he is confident that the Lakers will not make it past the first round. Currently, the purple and gold rank 23rd in offensive rating and 16th in defensive rating.
The Lakers face the likes of the Clippers, Mavericks, and Warriors in the coming days.