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The Lakers are halfway through the third full month of the NBA season and it still hasn’t come together. After Saturday, Los Angeles (21-22) sits in the seventh spot in the West after their devastating defeat in Denver. The roster has looked disjointed at best this season.

Los Angeles has been competent on offense, but the defense continues to be the limited factor to their success. LA ranks 20th in defensive efficiency (110.1) and 27th in points allowed (113.3).

The Lakers massive 133-96 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets displayed many of LA’s shortcomings.

LA Times Lakers beat writer Dan Woike had this to say about the Nuggets demolition of LA.

“It all left the Lakers looking like the worst version of themselves, the version that so many predicted when the Lakers were assembled. They were old. They were slow. And they weren’t quite sure how to play with Westbrook.”

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Woike is far from a newbie in the Los Angeles sports landscape. He’s been covering the NBA for the last 11 years. As he notes, this is a collective failure as a team to consistently compete.

Westbrook’s struggles have been well documented on this Lakers team. But this three-game losing streak is not just the Russ factor. 

Malik Monk has cooled off considerably. Monk is averaging 11 points per game after logging seven straight games with 15 points or more. Talen Horton-Tucker is shooting just 41.7% from the field during the Lakers three-game losing streak.

During this challenging stretch, the play of Austin Reaves (60.9 FG%) and LeBron James (31.3 PPG) have been the lone bright spots.

At the end of the day, the Lakers have too many players on the wrong side of 30. Kent Bazemore, DeAndre Jordan, and Wayne Ellington are the poster children for an ancient bench that’s been unable to support the starting unit.

While the more competitive teams in the West discover and develop young contributors, the Lakers are reminded on a nightly basis that much of their roster’s best days are well behind them.