The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, suffering four of the worst seasons in the history of the franchise since.
The only upside of all that losing is it’s allowed the Lakers to assemble a roster stocked with young talent, and the front office has supplemented those players like trade acquisition like Brook Lopez and free agent signing/figurative bread from heaven Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The result is the most promising roster the Lakers have had on paper in several years, and despite some analysts not thinking the purple and gold will be anywhere close to playoff contention, Jordan Clarkson has confidence in his team.
“The main goal is to make the postseason,” Clarkson told Mark Medina of the Orange County Register. “That’s definitely something we’re shooting for.”
Still, he knows getting there won’t be easy.
“It’s tough in the West, but I think we have an opportunity and a chance to build and come together to make something special here,” Clarkson said.
The Lakers making the playoffs would be a pretty special accomplishment for the team, but Clarkson is correct to note the West is tough. Just look at the standings from last season:
Of the (giant) group ahead of the Lakers, only the Utah Jazz, LA Clippers and (maybe) Memphis Grizzlies got worse over the summer, and all are almost assuredly still better than the Lakers, health permitting.
If the Lakers were in the Eastern Conference, maybe the fringes of playoff contention wouldn’t be out of the question. In the West, however, it just looks like too high of a hill to climb.
It’s absolutely not surprising that Clarkson would have confidence in the Lakers’ chances, either. He’s a professional athlete, and wouldn’t have gone from second-round pick to being the Lakers’ fourth-highest paid player without supreme confidence in himself and those around him.
Still, Clarkson said the same thing two years ago. This is the offseason, and this is what happens in the offseason. Everyone is undefeated and feeling good about the improvements they and their teammates have made.
Maybe Lopez, Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball will make enough impact for the Lakers to make a run for the eighth seed. It just doesn’t seem particularly likely, even if Clarkson isn’t wrong to aim high.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.