Lakers’ 2022-23 schedule provides stiff early tests, exposure

It doesn’t matter who is on the roster – the Lakers are always going to be at or near the top of the NBA’s marquee.

But the national schedule for the 2022-23 regular season might reflect a certain … ambivalence about how competitive the Lakers will be down the stretch.

As usual, the Lakers are one of the most-televised teams (39 games) on national broadcasts in their schedule, which was announced Wednesday: They’ll have five games on ABC, 11 on ESPN, 11 on TNT and 12 on NBA TV. But only a handful of those games come after the All-Star break – including just six on ABC, TNT and ESPN combined – which might indicate some wavering confidence in the Lakers’ ability to contend. Overall, the Lakers’ national games are down slightly from last year’s 42.

The team sorely disappointed last season despite a heralded superstar trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Injuries and faltering chemistry saw the Lakers go just 6-19 after the All-Star break and finish short of the play-in tournament for the 7-10 seeds in the Western Conference. Plenty of uncertainty remains for the roster, as the Lakers are known to be open to trading Westbrook in hopes of improving the team’s competitive window.

In James’ four seasons, the Lakers managed to win the 2020 NBA title, but in the three other years, they’ve fallen far short of expectations, including two seasons out of…

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