Where did Lakers go wrong? Suns vs. Pelicans is a tell-tale example

New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, left, drives as Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul defends during the second half of Game 5 of their NBA first-round playoff series on Tuesday in Phoenix. (Matt York / Associated Press)

You’re forgiven if you want to relax and watch the most exciting basketball of the season without allowing your mind to drift to some of the NBA’s most head-scratching hoops, but some of us don’t have those luxuries.

The Lakers cannot forget about their season. They cannot forget about the mistakes that happened before and during. And, if they have eyes focused on TV screens, the Lakers should be plenty aware of the difference between their group and the teams that made (and are still fighting) in the postseason.

Thursday, the series between Phoenix and New Orleans could end, a vivid reminder of where the Lakers could’ve been and where they absolutely currently are not.

The Lakers have bigger issues ahead — a coaching search and hire, a decision on Russell Westbrook and a possible trade that needs orchestrating, extension talks with LeBron James and a roster that will, again, need to be changed as quickly as motel bedding. But the decisions that need to be made must be determined by the NBA world around them.

And the Pelicans-Suns series in the West should be what’s haunting them most.

In New Orleans, the Lakers’ past and problematic future are on display. As Brandon Ingram continues his transformation into one of the NBA’s best tough-shot makers, like DeMar DeRozan with Kevin Durant’s measurements, the Lakers and their fans have to reflect on the deal that netted Anthony Davis.

Yes, that deal led to a NBA title, but the fallout has been two injury-filled seasons, just two playoff wins and heaps of uncertainty. While a title, in a vacuum, is more than worthy any of the headaches that have followed, the Lakers/Davis’ championship happened inside a TV studio built in Orlando — a scene more suited for “Black Mirror” than for championship basketball.

The circumstances, although not making the accomplishment less impressive, certainly affected what that title has meant to Los…


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