Health, Not Talent, Is LA Lakers’ Biggest Roadblock to Making Playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers’ streak of eight-straight playoff appearances is in serious jeopardy.

From the loss of Dwight Howard over the offseason to the uncertain timetable of Kobe Bryant’s return, the team is in somewhat of a mess. However, those are just the tip of the problems iceberg that the Lakers currently have.

But does that necessarily mean the team should all but be counted out in 2013-14?

Last year, a Los Angeles-Miami NBA Final was almost a sure thing. Many believed that basketball fans would certainly get the title matchup they all had longed for: Kobe vs. LeBron.

Unfortunately, the Lakers’ medical staff put in more time on the job than even Bryant himself. That’s saying something.

It’s also what makes the team’s health the only thing setting Los Angeles back from making a postseason run this year.


Injuries Alone Derailed Last Year’s Team

With a planned starting five that consisted of Steve Nash, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Howard, the Lakers easily had one of the best rotations in the league last season. Not another team in the league could boast anything as such.

However, this five-man unit only played a combined total of 19 games together.

To make matters worse, these games were spread so far apart that the players never had the ability to form any kind of cohesion or chemistry on the court. As a result, Los Angeles was just 6-13 during these contests.

In total, nine different players were injured last year. There were 17 different injuries that spanned a total of 176 games.

Among the key losses were Jordan Hill (53 games), Steve Blake (37), Steve Nash (34) and Pau Gasol (33). That doesn’t even include Howard, who was coming off back surgery and dealt with a torn right labrum for much of the season. Not to mention, Bryant’s Ac...

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