Originally written December 20, 2012 on Laker Nation:
Jordan Grant: With the talent the Lakers have, the injuries they’ve faced, the adjustments they’ve had to make, and their overall lack of effort so far, there is no doubt the Lakers have hit their bottom. The team continues to show us glimpses of what they are capable of, followed by long streaks of effortless play, only to try and comeback and win games. This is a pattern that the Lakers must, and I believe will have begin to break. It will continue to take some time for them to get things rolling and develop chemistry, especially within this system, but I believe they will finish the season strong and set themselves up to be around the 6th seed. Once all things are clicking by April, this will be a forced to be reckon with come playoff time.Oren Levy: The homer in me wants to say 5th place. The OKC/SA/LAC/MEM group is already out of reach, but I think we can overtake Golden State if this team can get going once everyone is healthy. If I’m being “realistic,” I think we can expect this team to win about 47 games – which should be good for a 6th-7th seed this season. Who would have thought a team with this much talent would have to get their act together just to get a bottom four seed in the playoffs…Matevz Rojc: This Lakers team will finish the regular season as the 6th seeded team in the Western Conference and they will face the Spurs or the Grizzlies in the 1st round of the Playoffs. Even with a healthy Steve Nash, this team will need at least another 10 games to find its chemistry and consistency. That will cost them the 5th seed in the Western Conference. However, they will be ready for the Playoffs no matter who they play against.Emil Rivera: Because of the health and inconsistent display of passion at times, the Lakers have played extremely well or extremely poor.  With a completely healthy team, including Dwight Howard being at 100% and Steve Nash bringing more consistency to the offense, this Laker team possess the talent to go on 6 or 7 game wins streaks.  Roster consistency, chemistry and determination from the players to play intensely for 48 minutes a game will be crucial to their success.  If all things click, I see this Lakers squad heading to the playoffs as a possible 5th seed in the West, with a strong chance to head back to the NBA Finals.Robert Benitez: With 56 games left in the season and the Lakers close to being full strength, I expect this team to go 38-18 for the rest of the season and finish at or around 50-32. A record like that in the powerhouse Western Conference will probably only be good for the 6-8 seed. But, this team was built for an extended playoff run and I don’t believe beginning the playoffs on the road will be an issue. At least I hope not.Jon Gaffer: Provided they get Nash back & they are able to stay relatively healthy, I firmly believe they can finish with 4 or 5 seed. I’m not ready to bow down to some of the teams the likes of Golden State, Utah,Denver, & Minnesota. I’m not even sold on the old rickety Spurs holding up all yr. Bottom line is if everyone plays up to their capabilities, my prediction is not a reach. However, it’s a real big IF.Zain Maredia: This 12-14 record is no way indicative of how the rest of the season will go. The Lakers have pretty much hit rock bottom, judging by Hollywood standards. As the season progresses, however, Dwight Howard will slowly regain his explosiveness, Steve Nash will unite this team on offense, Pau Gasol will find a way to mesh with this star-studded lineup, and team chemistry will only improve, including defensive rotations and bench play. We’ve seen stretches during which the Lakers look like a ridiculously dangerous and talented team; look to see this on a more consistent basis on the path to grabbing the #4 seed in the West.Belal Abdelfattah: While the question seems to be where will the Lakers end up seeding-wise, the most important thing is they find themselves in a great rhythm. In a loaded West, being seeded 1-5 is essentially the same thing, no team is that much better than anyone else. What the Lakers need is to be comfortable with each other and the system because in the playoffs that will get them a title, not winning 50 games or home-court advantage.Alik Ourfalian: Although the Lakers have begun the season poorly, all they need is a solid run to get over the .500 hump and stay there for good. They have currently won three straight, and a win on Saturday against a hot Golden State team will send the Lakers into the much-anticipated Christmas Day game against the Knicks with a four-game win streak. Momentum and focus are key, as is a consistent effort on both ends of the floor game after game. As long as the players keep the big picture in mind, the Lakers can make the playoffs as a fourth or fifth seed in the West and contend for the Larry O’Brien trophy come June.Bummi Anderson: With 14 losses already for the Lakers and both the Clippers and Thunder having 10 and 11 game winning streaks respectively, the Lakers have dug a hole too deep to get into the 4th spot or better. However, the Lakers will climb the ranks and end up a 5th or 6th seed.Alex Lambeth: The better question here would be whether or not the Lakers will be healthy at the end of the regular season. There is no doubt the Lakers will make the playoffs, their talent supersedes their record so far, but will they be able to snatch a top 6 spot after such a slow start? With Nash returning soon and Gasol being immersed back into the starting lineup, the talent-packed Lakers should be able to capture some “lightning in a bottle” going forward. I see the Lakers winning between 47-50 games this season without anymore major injuries, placing them as the 5th or 6th seed in the Western Conference, but their collective health will determine how deep their run in the playoffs will be.Felipe Amaral: The Lakers have players who are used to winning. Nash and Howard, even though they are new to the team, have been battling for the championship for a long time, playing at a high level in Phoenix or Orlando. There were a lot of changes this season, but there’s too many talent in the Lakers roster to this thing not get figured out one way or another. I expect the Purple&Gold to finish the season somewhere between the 4th and 6th seed in the West and, once you get in the playoffs, it’s a whole different game and the Lakers have the experience, the talent and, most importantly, the desire (Kobe is insatiable; Nash, Howard and D’Antoni seek their first ring) to go all the way.Sam Shaw: If the Lakers, at full strength, can beat playoff contending teams soon, it’s not a far-fetched idea that Kobe and Dwight carry the team to the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Thunder and Spurs will continue to perform at a high level for the rest of the season, but it’s unlikely that the Clippers, Warriors and the Grizzlies can keep pace. So far, it’s been a disappointing season, but the return of Steve Nash and a healthier Gasol will put this team back on track. Bold prediction: With the return of the Lakers floor general, this team will find its identity sooner than everyone thinks and the Lakers will win the Pacific with 55 games and enter the playoffs as the 3rd seed.Garrett Garcia: The Lakers will lock up the fifth seed in the West, guaranteed. With a completely healthy team and the chemistry becoming less of an issue, the Lakers can expect that fifth seed to be theirs. A fifth seed may seem low and not “Laker-like” but I think it will be a blessing in disguise as that would mean the Lakers play the fourth seed and have a good shot at winning that series. The Lakers will then turn it on from there and reach the NBA Finals, as expected.Melvin Taylor: If the Lakers were a celebrity they would be Amanda Bynes; even though it all looks bad at least it’s not as bad as Lindsey Lohan, everything can still be fixed. The Lakers will finish around the 5th or 6th seed in the western conference. Achieving 50 wins or just about that number would be a success with all of the injuries and changes that occurred this season. By then Steve Nash should have the offense clicking and the team will regain a sense of urgency on the defensive end of the ball. This would put them in position to face the 5/6th seeded opponent who will have problems facing a determined Lakers sqaud who have corrected their mistakes and are loaded for a championship run. Happy holidays!Anna Gonda: 12-14 is certainly not the record we’d hoped for this stacked of a team, but unforeseen factors such as injury and coaching turnover haven’t helped the the Lakers reach any level of familiarity, especially with the new combination of players to consider as well. The Western Conference is even more competitive as it has been in recent seasons, with the emergence of young groups like the Clippers, Golden State Warriors and the new Harden/Lin-led team, Houston Rockets. The Lakers may be looking up to these teams who they’ve pummeled in the past from the #12 spot for awhile. However, unless the Lakers are forced to sustain more injuries or another coaching change, they should occupy one of the bottom four spots in the Western Conference when the regular season is over.The post Laker Nation Roundtable: We Predict the Lakers Future appeared first on Laker Nation.
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