Before the 2021-22 NBA season began, the Los Angeles Lakers were projected to win 52.5 games and had +425 odds to be crowned NBA champions (the second-best odds in the league). The San Antonio Spurs, meanwhile? A measly 28.5 wins and a tie for the second-worst odds at +25000, the same odds as the Sacramento Kings.
Fewer than seven months after those bold odds came out, it turns out Las Vegas couldn't have been more wrong. Despite fielding a roster that holds 53 collective NBA All-Star appearances, the Lakers have now officially been eliminated from NBA Play-In Tournament contention at the hands of a team with a single All-Star showing.
An unlikely win over the Denver Nuggets by the Spurs' All-Star-less roster (Murray didn't play) set the stage for the Phoenix Suns to officially end the Lakers' season this Friday. Since the inevitable happened, we can now reflect on the total disaster that was the Lakers' season.
I have to start with the obvious, of course, which is the fact that this might be the most embarrassing result when considering expectations by any team in professional sports. I mean, yeah, the Lakers dealt with a massive amount of injuries, and that part is unfortunate. At the same time, they did decide to go with a notoriously inefficient Russell Westbrook when there was a possibility they could have had DeMar DeRozan instead.
They did sacrifice guys like Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to experiment with a second version of the Gary Payton and Karl Malone Lakers. They also put many of their chips on an extremely injury-prone Anthony Davis. Then, of course, there was this:
This now-deleted tweet is at the center of why this turn of events is so sweet, which I'll get into after the jump.