Report: Lakers core from last season felt like ‘victims of a bait and switch’

James Kingsley
3 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

According to Anthony Irwin of Lakers Daily, the core members of the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers felt as if they were “victims of a bait and switch” this season.

“According to sources close to the situation, members of last year’s core felt like victims of a bait and switch,” Irwin wrote. “All offseason, they were sold on how they would build on continuity. Instead, everyone but James and Davis was benched at different points of the season and that group only got a real look until well after the season’s halfway point.”

On Friday, news broke of the Lakers’ decision to fire head coach Darvin Ham. Ham spent two seasons as the head coach of the iconic franchise.

The fact that the Lakers rolled with various starting lineups during the 2023-24 regular season suggests that the players had legitimate beef with Ham regarding a lack of continuity.

After all, Davis and James were the lone two players to start every game they appeared in with Los Angeles during the team’s 82-game slate. Even D’Angelo Russell — who put together debatably his best season as a Laker — came off the bench in seven of his 76 regular-season appearances with the Lakers.

Furthermore, a whopping 12 players started at least one game for the squad.

The Lakers’ continuity issues seemingly caught up with the team when the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs rolled around. For the second year in a row, Los Angeles was eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in embarrassing fashion.

The team received consistent scoring production from three players in James, Davis and Austin Reaves. All three averaged 16-plus points per contest in the series.

Russell had his second straight underwhelming playoff series against the defending NBA champions. His scoring average and efficiency both plummeted compared to the regular season, as he averaged just 14.2 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

His worst offensive performance of the first-round series came in Game 3, when he failed to score a single point and missed all seven of his shot attempts from the field, six of which came from deep.

It will be exciting to see how the Lakers’ coaching search plays out and who the ownership and front office select to be the newest head coach of a franchise that is seeking its 18th championship in franchise history.

Share This Article
James is a Los Angeles native who has been a fan of the Lakers since the Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant days. He has been writing and editing for over 10 years now and is excited to bring his skillset to the Ahn Fire Digital team.