Time for the Los Angeles Lakers to Discover Who They Really Are

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers started the season with such great promise, upsetting teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls in the early going. The young Lakers were the buzz of the NBA, at least for a month.

That early excitement has long since faded with the Lakers losing 11 of their last 12 games.

The Lakers will wrap up a seven-game road trip on Friday against the Orlando Magic, ending an unproductive run that has yielded just a single victory. The road has been anything but kind.

"A lot of times on the road, you get away from everything else and it's just you and your teammates. Some bonding and brotherhood can come together," coach Luke Walton said prior to the team's exodus. "Other times a seven-game road trip can wear everybody out and people get on each other's nerves."

It remains to be seen how unified the locker room will be once the Lakers return home.

A combination of injuries, scheduling and one of the NBA's most porous defenses has dropped the Lakers to 11th place in the Western Conference. Still, the Lakers are somehow just 2.5 games behind the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers (13-18) in the standings.

In the other direction, they're only two games ahead of the 7-21 Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets for league-worst.

With 50 games left to play, it's not too late for the Lakers to make the playoffs. Likewise, L.A. may still salvage its 2017 first-round pick—owed to the Sixers if not a top-three selection—should it continue to lose at an alarming rate.

Whichever path they take, now is the time for the Lakers to discover who they are for the 2016-17 season.


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