Stephen A. Smith says the Lakers' ceiling is the 'playoffs and a 1st-round exit' - Lakers Daily Stephen A. Smith says the Lakers' ceiling is the 'playoffs and a 1st-round exit' - Lakers Daily

Stephen A. Smith says the Lakers’ ceiling is the ‘playoffs and a 1st-round exit’

LeBron James and Stephen A. Smith

As the NBA returns from the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to be considered one of the most disappointing teams so far this season.

Despite the fact that the team is filled with star talent and experienced veterans, the Lakers currently own a record of 27-31 and are the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has been critical of the Lakers throughout the season, and he recently made it clear that he doesn’t see L.A. going very far in the current campaign.

“I don’t see them beating Golden State,” he said. “They ain’t beating Phoenix. They ain’t beating Memphis. They ain’t beating Utah. Hell, they might have a problem with Dallas for crying out loud.”

At this point, a first-round playoff series is not even a guarantee for L.A. Though the Lakers are currently in position to compete in the play-in portion of the postseason, they’re certainly not a lock to make it to a playoff series.

When it comes to what has gone wrong this season, the blame can seemingly be placed on a few primary factors. First off, injuries have ravaged the Lakers. A number of key players have missed large portions of the season due to injury, and it has impacted the team’s ability to find rotations that work.

On top of that, chemistry on the court has been a major issue. Most glaringly, the addition of guard Russell Westbrook has been a failed experiment. Though he is averaging 18.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game, those numbers have not really contributed to winning.

L.A.’s defense, of course, has been a big problem as well. The team is allowing 112.4 points per game.

Despite the issues so far this season, the Lakers definitely have the talent and experience needed to turn things around. Whether or not they find a way to do so remains to be seen.