Every week, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines surrounding the Lakers. In today’s State of the Nation, they answer one, simple question: What does the not-so-distant future look like for this Lakers team?

With a potentially long term injury to Dwight Howard (torn labrum), along with short term injuries to Pau Gasol (concussion) and Jordan Hill (hip), where will the Lakers find themselves at the end of the regular season?

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oren Levy // @LakersOren:

It really depends on how long Dwight is hurt for. The scary truth is that the Lakers have a tough 6 game stretch coming up (HOU, SA, OKC, CLE, MIL, MIAMI). A bad run right now could end their season. As Kobe recently said, “when it rains, it pours.” Let’s see if the Lakers can find an umbrella.

Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:

7th seed in the Western Conference. Unbelievable, right? But with this new injury bug hitting the entire Lakers’ front court, along with their difficult schedule coming up, the Lakers will continue to struggle through the month of January. It’s crazy to think that this Lakers season will come down to luck, as their fate now rests in the hands of the ten other teams ahead of the Lakers.

Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:

Seeing that this season hasn’t gone the way anyone anticipated it, these injuries will be catastrophic if they turn out to be any longer than “one week” setbacks. Remember back when Nash first got injured and it was only “one week” that he’d be out? I hate to say it, but the Lakers will be truly lucky to grab that 8th seed in the Western Conference, if that.

Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:

These injuries certainly don’t help matters any, but what are the chances that all three big men would go down at the same time? This is a calling for the rest of the team to rise up and take on the responsibility left. If they can do this, they will find themselves competing in the playoffs. If they can’t step up to the challenge, they’ll miss out on what could’ve been a great post-season. The choice is theirs.

John Gaffer // @jewelslamo:

Seeding anywhere from 6-8. This Lakers team lacks bench depth, speed, can’t play defense, and at times, shows no sense of urgency to win. At this rate it’s one and done, as in rounds in the playoffs.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Alik Ourfalian // @alik_o:

Injuries and tough schedules always seem to motivate the Lakers (e.g. Kobe’s shin injury last season). We’re not even halfway through the season. There’s plenty of time for the Lakers to get it together and make the playoffs as a 5-8 seed.

Melvin Taylor // @PastPossible30:

I believe the Lakers find themselves at a crossroads. With this rash of injuries, they have the opportunity to find out what type of team they really are, and if their depth of: Antawn Jamison, Robert Sacre, Earl Clark, and Devin Ebanks are good enough to compete. Make no mistake about it: this will be a vital stretch for them.

Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson:

I don’t think either player will be out for a long stretch. I still expect Lakers to finish between 6-8 in West. Those lower seeded teams will fall back…to reality.

Matevz Rojc // @MatevzRojc:

Hopefully in a playoff spot. A lot of things will have to change for that to happen. We haven’t seen any consistency from this team so far. With the roster they have, Gasol’s return should be enough for them to make the playoffs. They will have to take one game at a time and not even think about what will happen at the end of the regular season.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0:

It’s very difficult to say. With Steve Nash back, the Lakers should have taken that 5 game win streak and extended it. Instead, they dropped 4 of 5 since then. I still have faith and see the potential, but I’m saying 8th seed in the West is the best they can do now.

James Cypert // @JamesCypert:

The one bright spot in all of the injuries to the Lakers front court is that the team can now really see what they have in second-round pick and consummate bench cheerleader Robert Sacre. With the Lakers poised to miss the playoffs, the absence of a 2013 first-round pick, traded to the Suns for Steve Nash, means that there’s no quick-and-easy fix in Lakerland.

Emil Rivera // @e_double_r75:

Injuries are now the least of the Lakers problems, considering they couldn’t win games with a relatively healthy roster. The real issue is how they approach the game and their inability to hustle and do the little things to pull off wins. At this point, I would be surprised if the Lakers did make the playoffs.