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The Lakers' Physical Problems Were Way Bigger Than Their Mental Ones

Kyle Koster
Jun 4, 2021, 11:10 AM EDT
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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There are plenty of things that explain the Los Angeles Lakers' inability to repeat as NBA champions. Perhaps they celebrated last year's bubble crown too boisterously. Perhaps a few people not named LeBron James got a bit too lax with their training methods. Perhaps there was some hubris in thinking playoff seeding didn't mean much come actual playoff time.

Or perhaps, more simply, the primary reason the Lakers failed to go back-to-back is a lot less sexy. There was an abbreviated offseason and the team's two superstars each missed more than a third of the season with injuries. They barely played together and couldn't play together with elimination looming.

Tim Legler, speaking on Get Up, seems to disagree with that pointing to some more of the cerebral elements in the team's postmortem.

Legler is way more plugged-in that me, a guy at home, so I'm open to the idea that he knows a lot more about the missteps and mental framework of both the team at large and its individual players. It just seems a bit harsh to pin it on those shortcomings instead of bad timing and bad luck. There can be legitimate complaints about not beefing up at the trade deadline but fundamentally this season was going to ride on James and Davis once again.

The duo could only take this team so far after their health took a hit. And if there's an issue with the Lakers not being aggressive enough in finding ways to make it work by putting James or Davis on the court more, that's tough to stand behind after one of those guys ended up getting hurt, which is what the rest was supposed to help.

Anyway, as always there's a hodgepodge of factors for people to highlight or downplay and I'm genuinely curious if more people are thinking along my lines or along Legler's.

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