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What's Wrong with the LA Lakers?

by William Ricks 4 years ago in basketball
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The Lakers aren't living up to expectations early in the season. Can they fix everything and get on track?

The Los Angeles Lakers haven't been the team everyone expected them to be ten games into the new season. After signing LeBron James in the offseason along with a number of veterans, the Lakers are sitting at 4-6, 11th in the western conference. The Lakers have played mediocre basketball and now that has people wondering if they can even make the playoffs. What or who is to blame for the Lakers' slow start? Could these issues be resolved before it's too late?

Disappearance on Defense

One thing that stands out from the Lakers' poor start is their defense, or lack thereof. According to stats on ESPN.com, the Lakers are ranked 27th in the NBA when it comes to points allowed. The Lakers have allowed almost around 120 points per game, which isn't getting the job done. Despite the center JaVale McGee averaging over three blocks per game, the Lakers interior defense has been almost non-existent. They give up 59 points in the paint per game, which is the most among all NBA teams. In a league where three-pointers are all the rage, you still have to protect the paint. The Lakers' defensive struggles can't continue if they want to become the team most people think they can be.

The Lakers have been visibly a step behind in most of their games, especially their most recent game against the Raptors. Toronto essentially had a layup line all game, getting to the paint with ease against LA. Serge Ibaka went 14-14 from the floor in that game, just to put in perspective the troubles LA's defense has had. With solid defensive players like Rondo, Ball, and McGee, it's surprising to see the Lakers struggle on this end of the floor. LeBron James hasn't been the same defensively like in recent years, and he knows his team follows his lead. If they see him giving poor effort on defense, the rest of the team will follow. That might be the case here.

Mixing Youth and Experience

When you add a player like LeBron James to your team, you're expected to become a great team rather quickly. However, the Lakers added a lot of seasoned veterans also like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and the previously mentioned JaVale McGee. The Lakers already had a promising young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram. Mixing this young Lakers core with these seasoned vets do take time. With the varying personalities on the Lakers roster as well, they will need some time to get used to playing with each other. The real question is how much more time will it take?

LeBron has admitted that he will need to have "patience" throughout the season as the team grows, but with the results he is seeing, when does the patience run out? LeBron, despite his freakish athleticism and sheer dominance, at 33 is entering the twilight phase of his career and he knows time isn't on his side. The youth on the Lakers roster is progressing well, but there comes a time in the NBA season where you need to start stacking wins, and the Lakers have yet to put together a three-game win streak this season. Hopefully, LeBron and the vets on the roster can get some mojo going, because LA fans are demanding a playoff berth at the least and they might not even get that if the Lakers keep playing the way they are.

The season is young, and the offense is showtime.

The one thing the Lakers have going for them this season is their offense. Their offense is one of the best in the league, as they rank third in the NBA in points with 118 points per game. LA is known for showtime, and they have revived that mantra as they lead the league in fast-break points per game with 23 points. One blemish on their offense is their three-point shooting, where LA shoots 34 percent from the three. Their poor shooting from three has led to fast break opportunities for other teams, which hurts them on the defensive side of the court.

Their offense is putting up these numbers early in the season, so imagine when the team finally starts to click. They will be a big problem for other teams in the league. One thing they might need to worry about when it comes to their fast offense is their stamina. It can already be seen at some moments that the Lakers look at little gassed, and their offense can take some of the blame for that.

The NBA season is young, and there are 72 games left on the Lakers' schedule. It doesn't help that the western conference is loaded with talented teams like the Rockets, Nuggets, Trailblazers, Nuggets, and of course, the Warriors. 4-6 after 10 games isn't what Lakers fans hoped for, but with time and patience, LeBron will get this team where it needs to be.

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About the author

William Ricks

I am a journalist who primarily writes about sports, but I also write about video games and music. I've written for multiple new organizations and have had success doing that. I love to inject facts and fun into my writing. I hope you enjoy

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