Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Los Angeles Lakers fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts, and check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.
The Los Angeles Lakers are just 12-11 on the season, have just one win streak of at least three games and have struggled to find any level of consistency through the opening quarter of the season. Injuries have played a big role in their season, particularly to LeBron James who will likely miss at least the next 10 days after entering health and safety protocols on Tuesday afternoon. James has only played in 11 games total on the season and never more than three in a row this year.
It’s been a tumultuous start for a Lakers team — one that has moved them to the outside looking in at the contenders of the Western Conference — that had lots of questions about them coming into the year, perhaps none louder than the age of their roster. in this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey of NBA fans, a vast majority believe the Lakers’ struggles are due to that aging roster paired with a lack of depth.
When it comes to the roster’s depth, injuries have sapped up much of that depth with the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker and Wayne Ellington missing the start of the season before recently returning while Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn have still yet to make their debuts.
Evaluating anything about the Lakers’ start to the season needs to take into context their injuries, which has derailed much of what they had hoped to do. From there, conversations about the age of their roster could be had, but it feels like a discussion that won’t have an answer until the roster is finally whole.
No sophomore slump
On the opposite end of the age spectrum, a number of young players are having standout campaigns in their sophomore seasons. Last season’s Rookie of the Year in LaMelo Ball is averaging more points, rebounds and assists than last season while also upping his 3-point percentage.
However, it’s Anthony Edwards, the runner-up for the award, that is having the best second campaign according this week’s survey.
Like Ball, Edwards has seen an uptick in his counting stats as he’s averaging 22 points per game while shooting 42.8% from the field and 34.4% from the 3-point line, all improvements on his rookie season figures. Tyrese Maxey is perhaps the surprise inclusion in the list. After being a role player in a rather small role on the contending Sixers last season, Maxey has stepped into the starting lineup in place of Ben Simmons and is averaging 18 points per game, helping Philadelphia stay competitive despite being without Simmons and Joel Embiid for stretches this season.