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Magic Johnson Lists Out the Issues With Lakers, Blames Mentality and Load Management For Loss to Nuggets

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Magic Johnson Lists Out the Issues With Lakers, Blames Mentality and Load Management For Loss to Nuggets

Magic Johnson‘s social media persona has a fan following of its own. However, as flamboyant and flashy as the Los Angeles Lakers icon was on the court during his glorious career, he’s just as mundane and monotonous on X, formerly Twitter, and almost seems to post as if he writes push notifications for a news channel.

However, the Lakers’ season-ending Game 5 loss to the Nuggets on Monday prompted Johnson to break character and go on a scathing rant about the team’s performance. He called out the team for being mentally and physically weaker than the Nuggets after winning only one of the two team’s last 12 meetings. The following is what he wrote on X[Formerly Twitter].

“And the #1 reason the Lakers can’t beat Denver in a 7 game series is because the Nuggets are mentally and physically tougher than the Lakers.”

Johnson wasn’t pleased with the Lakers’ squad management and blamed the team’s load management for their eighth-place finish in the regular season and needing the play-in tournament to book their playoff berth.

“The Lakers have nobody but themselves to blame. They wouldn’t have been in the play-in game or finished as a 7th seed this season if they hadn’t lost too many games because of load management.”

Johnson’s assessment of the Lakers’ load management seems a bit off as Anthony Davis missed only six games while LeBron James wasn’t in the starting lineup on only 11 occasions during the regular season. LA’s campaign was also dampened by injuries to key rotational players like Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt, who barely featured this year.

However, while he may not have been completely accurate about the Lakers’ load management, he was spot-on with the final post in his passionate rant. He wrote,

“Laker Nation, we have a problem. All the good teams in the West are young and talented: the Nuggets, the Timberwolves, the Thunder, and the Mavs. And the BIGGEST elephant in the room is the Spurs, who with Victor Wembanyama, will definitely be a playoff team next season. For the Lakers to compete with all these teams, the roster MUST improve.”

This message was seemingly shot straight at general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss. The Denver Nuggets are the Lakers’ bogeyman, while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves have emerged as the top dogs of the West. The Warriors, Suns, and Lakers were the teams boasting the biggest names in the Conference, but they were forced to take a backseat and saw a new era commence.

LA needs to retool its roster to reduce dependency on James and Davis to stand a chance at upstaging their conference rivals. If they don’t, the disappointment they suffered this season could become the status quo.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason of uncertainty

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are heading into the offseason with more questions than answers at the moment. NBA insider Shams Charania has even reported that the team will likely part ways with their heavily scrutinized head coach Darvin Ham and head in a new direction next season

Finding a new coach is only the tip of the iceberg. The Lakers’ roster needs a massive facelift in the offseason. LeBron James will test free agency but the franchise intends to lure him back with a three-year, $164 million contract extension and the promise of adding his son Bronny James to the roster via the 2024 NBA draft.

Guard D’Angelo Russell has a player option for next season, which he reportedly is set to decline and become a free agent [per Hoops Hype]. Spencer Dinwiddie is also expected to leave, while Gabe Vincent barely played in his debut season. That leaves Austin Reaves as the only reliable guard option on the roster.

James’ massive contract extension and the lack of enticing assets will make player acquisition a chore for general manager Rob Pelinka. There’s never a dull day in LA, and that will most certainly be the case for the Lakers during this offseason.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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