The Faceoff: Will the Lakers be a top contender for a conference championship

As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The Los Angeles Lakers won’t be either.

In summer 2012, the Lakers acquired two-time MVP Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. These additions, alongside Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol, gave the Lakers a fearsome starting lineup.

Since the start of the regular season, however, the Lakers have accumulated as many wins as President Barack Obama has served terms in office. Recently, the Lakers also let go of head coach Mike Brown in hopes of bringing in a system of basketball that wasn’t the Princeton offense.

The team looks strong on paper but they don’t have what it takes to win a championship, let alone the Western Conference title. While this seems like something sports journalist and commentator Skip Bayless would say, I firmly believe that there are factors that don’t qualify the Lakers as a winning basketball team.

First, age is a factor. The average age of the Lakers’ starting lineup is 32 years old. A greater occurrence of injuries is related to increased age. Thirty-eight-year-old Nash is nursing a broken leg and 34-year-old Bryant’s arthritic knee continues to cause him trouble. Don’t expect these players to be 100 percent recovered for a long time.

While the all-stars remain injured or decide to retire, the Lakers lack depth on the bench. The Lakers rank second to last in bench production, contributing an average of less than 20 points per game.

And who is the primary scorer coming off the bench? Well it’s not the Lakers’ recent signing: two-time All-Star Antawn Jamison.

The bench’s leading scorer averaging 6.5 points a game is Darius Morris. Who’s that? Exactly. If the Lakers’ bench is this terrible and filled with unknown players, then the Lakers are really in trouble when a starter becomes injured.

While the Lakers are putting up an unconvincing run to a championship, other teams are starting to emerge from the pack. Teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers are beginning to show the Lakers that they want it just as badly.

The Lakers had very high hopes coming into the season. The main question at the time was how the Lakers could become champions. Now, the question is: Why they are doing so poorly? In the coming weeks, keep your eyes peeled for a new coach to turn back the clocks of Lakers’ history and fill in the role. But don’t count on it.

Editor's Note:

As of Wednesday Nov. 14, the Lakers hold a 3-5 record.

The Lakers announced the hiring of Mike D’Antoni on Monday Nov. 12 to fill the head coach position.

D’Antoni, the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach, signed a three-year deal worth $12 million.