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The Lakers are really far behind other playoff teams

It’s hard to watch the playoffs so far and not see the Lakers as a team with a whole lot of ground to make up in a rapidly-improving Western Conference.

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

One of the most fun times of the year as a basketball fan kicked off over the last week with the start of the NBA playoffs. The play-in games produced plenty of drama and excitement, and also left Los Angeles without a playoff basketball team (shoutout to the Clippers).

The start of the postseason over the weekend provided equally exciting games, highlighted by the showdowns between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves and the Celtics and Nets. But one thing is abundantly clear when looking at all of it through purple-and-gold-tinted glasses.

The Lakers are very, very far behind.

On this week’s “Can U Dig It,” a podcast by the Silver Screen & Roll network, Christian and I looked at how the Lakers got to a point where they are vastly less talented than the conference’s elite teams.

Barely a year ago — halfway through the 2020-21 season — the Lakers had one of the best teams in the Western Conference and were a title contender. Fast forward to present-day and the Lakers not only aren’t even in playoff contention but don’t even have a clear path forward.

When the Lakers last won a title, they built a core that had been around multiple seasons in the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and others. That type of core doesn’t exist, which will require the Lakers to hit home runs — plural — in the offseason this summer, a proposition that doesn’t feel possible given how badly they struck out last offseason.

Everything the Lakers do this summer will trickle down from a Russell Westbrook trade, which they absolutely must nail for the team to even consider contending for anything next season. From there, a series of acquisitions will have to be nailed to take the team from out of the play-in game and to title contention in a Western Conference that features teams like the Grizzlies and Timberwolves that are already good and only getting better.

To wrap up the show, we talked about the latest episode of “Winning Time.” For a series that is absolutely nailing multiple aspects of the show and keeping it entertaining, the latest episode included some very odd creative liberties when it comes to how good that Lakers team actually was.

You can listen to all that and more on our latest episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude and Christian at @RadRivas. And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.

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