The NBA All-Star weekend may have been a good break for many Lakers fans, but it's time to face reality. The Los Angeles Lakers will not be making a run at this year's title as they won't even be making the playoffs.
The Lakers have struggled all season to find their game, and their 25-29 record has illustrated that. As the current holder of the 10th seed in the West, the Lakers have obviously underachieved and are quite frankly all but out of time.
While the Lakers are, in fact, only three-and-a-half games back of the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final seed in the West, they have put themselves in too large a hole to get out.
With 28 games left in the season, the Lakers and their fans need to stop being delusional. Here are five reasons the Lakers will miss this year's playoffs.
L.A.'s injury woes will be too much to overcome.
While I'm not one to blame injury as a sole reason for a team's lack of success, the Lakers have a legitimate excuse as the injury bug has plagued them all season.
According to basketball-reference.com these five have only started five games together this entire season. On top of this handful of starts, the five have also combined to miss a total of 49 games.
While having starters out may seem like an already good enough excuse, the Lakers have also been without key reserves Steve Blake and Jordan Hill for the majority of the season.
D'Antoni's system continues to fail its players.
The Lakers' season is nearly two-thirds of the way complete, and they still clearly haven't figured out their team identity.
Since the Mike Brown firing earlier this season, the Lakers have flipped their scheme, settling for more of an offensive first kind of mentality than a defensive one.
Although the Lakers may have thought they made a good choice in reuniting Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni, D'Antoni's system has failed to work since day one. One of the main contributors for this lack of success in this system has been that the player personnel just doesn't fit.
The Lakers have enough talent on their squad to be competing for a championship; they're just in the wrong system.
The Lakers' issues have almost become daily news.
It wouldn't be Los Angeles Lakers basketball if there wasn't any drama.
The Lakers have been shooting themselves in the foot all season as they have made a habit of making in-house issues public. While it may seem harmless to some, the media has had a field day all year pinning members of the Lakers against each other.
Before the matchup against the Boston Celtics a little over a week ago, the media depicted Bryant badly as he talked about Howard and how he should be playing through injury. In response to Bryant's comments, Howard fired back stating that, "he's not a doctor."
While this drama could have been a simple misunderstanding or even taken out of context, the Lakers' habit of going to the media has become a serious issue.
The Lakers need to learn how to address teammates and coaches without the use of the media or their team chemistry will continue to suffer.
Howard's commitment to L.A. is in serious question.
Since joining Los Angeles this offseason, Dwight Howard has continued to avoid questions throughout the season on if he will re-sign with the Lakers.
While Howard may think he is saying the right things about wanting to focus on this season rather than next, he continues to hold the Lakers back and is keeping them in his stranglehold.
On top of this lack of commitment to the Lakers, new reports have also surfaced claiming Howard still wants to become a member of the Brooklyn Nets*. While this report has been proven to have a few holes, it's anyone's best guess on where Howard will end up.
Although Howard has every right to sit on his decision on whether to return to Los Angeles or head elsewhere, this fiasco teamed up with the media has been clearly hurting the team. If Howard does intend to bolt at the end of the season, the Lakers will find themselves in a much worse situation than just missing this year's playoffs.
*Conversation on Dwight Howard wanting to become a Net takes place approximately at the 35-minute mark.
L.A. no longer controls their own destiny.
Although the Lakers aren't completely dead in the water just yet, what must happen in order for them to make the playoffs is starting to seem unlikely.
As stated before, the Lakers are currently three-and-a-half games out of the eighth seed and must now count on other teams to falter if they want to make the playoffs.
The Lakers are no longer in absolute control of their own destiny and could wind up missing the playoffs even if they end up winning the majority of the rest of their games. L.A. has had everything riding against them this season and, with so many factors playing into its struggles, will end up missing this year's playoffs.