In 10 days or less, the Los Angeles Lakers as we know them could be flipped upside down by a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis before the NBA trade deadline. More than half of the rotation could be playing for another team by next week, and yet, they still have a job to do on Tuesday.
For the first time this season, the Lakers will face off against Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately, unless they’re motivated by the trade rumors surrounding the locker room, they could be in for a long night.
The Lakers will be without their two leading scorers, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, as well as Lonzo Ball, who might have played his last game for L.A. because of an ankle sprain that may only see him recover in time to play for his next team.
And aside from the fact that they’re pretty banged up, the Lakers — on most nights without James — are a bad team. The 76ers are not.
In fact, the Sixers have the second-best record against Western Conference teams in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Toronto Raptors. The Lakers are going to need L.A. nightlife to do some heavy lifting on Tuesday.
If the Lakers are going to somehow miraculously upset the 76ers, it’s going to have to start with their defense. Even in spite of all of the missing bodies on their roster, the Lakers are still ranked seventh in the league in defensive rating. Then again, the Sixers have the ninth-nest offensive rating in the league thanks in no small part to the three All-Stars they have on their roster.
In other words, there’s no reason to believe the Lakers have a chance to win on Tuesday. They might be better off keeping Ingram and Hart healthy for New Orleans. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. PST on TNT.