The Los Angeles Lakers have had a successful regular season.
Currently the No. 3 seed in the West, things are looking bright.
However, as unfortunate as it may sound, there are many things that can go wrong for the Lakers.
There are several potential disasters that can hinder the Lakers’ chances of winning a 17th title.
Here are 10.
While Mike Brown has had success with the Lakers in terms of where they are in the standings, he has clashed with his players a couple of times.
Brown and Kobe Bryant clashed when Brown decided to bench Bryant in the crucial final minutes of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the year.
Brown later clashed with Andrew Bynum when he benched Bynum due to intolerable play.
While some of Brown’s actions regarding his players are warranted, clashes with players is still a cause of major concern.
In order to win a title, it’s important that everyone, players and coaches, is on the same page.
If players continue to clash with Brown now and into the playoffs, the Lakers’ chances to win a 17th title will severely diminish.
Andrew Bynum has shown a lack of focus as of late.
Taking errant three-pointers, not defending, not rebounding, not participating in huddles and getting ejected for trash talk raise major questions regarding whether Bynum truly desires to win a title.
Bynum is a big contributor to the Lakers’ big three—if he doesn’t play like the 18 and 12 beast Bynum that many have grown to like, the Lakers’ chances at a title are slim, especially considering the fact that the Lakers lack depth.
Although Bynum has gotten himself on the right track recently, there is still the possibility that he will pick back up on his selfish tendencies, causing a Lakers downfall.
There are two players on the Lakers that have gained a selfish reputation: Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.
We all know that Kobe Bryant is great—he makes amazing shots and can drop 40 any given night.
However, Bryant misses a lot of shots too. Despite having a less-than-productive game, Bryant will continue to shoot, not looking to pass very often.
This can doom the Lakers in the playoffs.
If Bryant decides to continue shooting when he’s down instead of allowing Gasol, Bynum and Sessions to carry some of the load, teams will take advantage.
Furthermore, although he has improved as of late, Bynum has shown signs of selfishness, too.
If he shoots too much or takes bad threes, the Lakers will be vulnerable to defeat.
The Lakers have the worst bench in the NBA.
There is no way the Lakers can bolster their bench now, which is why players like Steve Blake, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts and Matt Barnes need to step it up.
While Bryant, Gasol, Bynum and Sessions are going to be playing the significant minutes in the game, they may have to overplay if the Lakers bench plays poorly.
Playoff basketball is more demanding than regular-season basketball—if the Lakers starters are forced to play beyond their limits, fatigue can ruin the team’s chances at a title.
Furthermore, the Lakers’ starting five score the most points per game out of any starting five in the NBA.
With that said, the Lakers offense has become predictable in many ways.
If the bench players contribute, opposing defenses will be taken off balance. However, if the bench doesn’t produce, the Lakers’ predictability can lead to their demise.
The Lakers are one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the league—shooting a low 31.7 percent from the three-point line.
While the Lakers rely heavily on their post players for offensive production, there is a possibility that Gasol and Bynum will have poor games.
If they have poor games, how will the Lakers score? That’s when the Lakers will have to rely more on perimeter shooting.
However, because the Lakers are shooting so poorly, that plan probably won’t work as effectively as they might like.
As a result, their offense will stall/fail and they’ll end up scoring less than their opponent.
The Western Conference playoff teams have some of the best scorers in basketball with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, among others.
The Lakers will need to contain these players in order for success.
However, their poor defense has been a problem as of late—in March, they’ve allowed opponents to score 98.9 PPG.
The problem is that the Lakers average 96.8 PPG.
If the Lakers continue to allow their opponents to score on them in high quantities, failure will ensue: They’ll lose.
The Lakers have given up big leads this season, most notably against the New Jersey Nets when they almost blew a hefty 17-point lead.
The Lakers’ complacence can lead to losses.
Playoff games are too important to give up—one loss can shift the momentum of the series in favor of the opposing team.
If the Lakers continue to give up big leads, they can say goodbye to their hopes for another title.
At plus-3.8, the Lakers have the highest turnover differential in the league.
While the Lakers have won a large portion of their games this season, turnovers have been a major problem.
Single possessions can determine the outcome of the most important games.
In other words, a single turnover at the end of a big game can crush the Lakers' hopes at a title.
Clearly, the Lakers need to cut back on their turnovers and force more turnovers in order to dominate their opponents.
According to hoopsstats.com, the Lakers’ starting five plays the second-most minutes out of any starting five in the league.
Playing so many minutes during a condensed season has been troublesome for the Lakers, considering the fact that two of their best players, Gasol and Bryant, are over 30 years old.
In addition, big minutes have not helped with injuries.
Bryant is currently nursing a shin injury and Bynum has had problems with his ankle.
It’s certainly possible that fatigue and injuries will catch up to the Lakers in the playoffs.
If this happens, the Lakers have the potential of exiting the playoffs early.
The fact that the Lakers have an unreliable bench that isn’t very capable of producing just makes it worse.
If there is one team in the West that matches up very well with the Lakers, it’s the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mike Conley is as quick as Ramon Sessions, Tony Allen is a great defender who can hinder Bryant’s opportunities on offense, Rudy Gay is an athletic scorer who can match up well with World Peace and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominate the post similar to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
As of April 11th, the Lakers possess the No. 3 seed in the West and the Grizzlies possess the No. 5 seed.
However, it’s possible that between now and the end of the regular season, the playoff seedings will change, which means the Lakers may have to face the Grizzlies in the first round.
Surely, the Grizzlies will be the Lakers toughest opponent because they can do so many of the same things, but with better bench production.
Although the Lakers have won two out of three of their meetings with Memphis, the Grizzlies now have their full starting five intact because Randolph is now healthy.
If the Lakers meet the Grizzlies in the playoffs, disaster may ensue: The Lakers may not fulfill their ultimate goal of winning a title.