It’s all very bad. The Lakers super team crumbles limply before the start of the season
There are only a few days left before the start of the new NBA season. Things are not going well for one of the main favorites of the upcoming championship, the Los Angeles Lakers. The renewed line-up is super-famous, albeit very old. LeBron James’ team is seriously aiming to compete for the championship. But in the preseason, the team does not perform as we would like. Not like a champion. Even taking into account the discount on the frivolity of the preseason matches.
The first problem that knocked Los Angeles down at the start of the season was injury. Trevor Ariza , who was planned to be in the starting five, will miss two months after ankle surgery. Rotation key player Thalen Horton-Tucker injured his right thumb and was out for at least a month. The Lakers were also left without Malik Monk. He damaged his inguinal ligaments. The timing of the recovery is unknown, but the team hopes that he will have time to recover by the opening match of the season – the game against Golden State on 19 October.
If we are talking about injuries, then we cannot fail to mention Anthony Davis . The traumatic superstar gets a lot of time in the preseason. In two matches with Phoenix, Davis played 25-30 minutes. Yes, you can load it now, but within reason. Is it worth risking the health of one of the league’s most traumatic players in insignificant games? He, that and look, risks going to Ariza, Horton-Tucker and Monk. But the loss of Davis will still affect the Lakers at times more seriously. Considering the scale of ambitions, healthy lakeside workers need it in the coming season.
Either way, with or without Davis, the Lakers lost all five preseason games. In the first game, Los Angeles suffered a crushing defeat to Brooklyn at home – 97: 123. Can be attributed to the fact that the stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook did not play. Although Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving did not qualify for Brooklyn, it’s hard to find an excuse for such a big difference in the home game other than “this is the preseason”. At that time, it was still working.
Then there was an away defeat to Phoenix Suns (105: 117). Davis showed up, LeBron and Westbrook were gone. The opponent is strong, so in general there was not much cause for concern. Then there was a trip to the Golden State Warriors (114: 121), in which LeBron and Westbrook took part, but Davis was resting. The difference is small, Stephen Curry scored 30 points in the Warriors . Three defeats in a row for the championship superteam, even in the preseason, is not an indicator, but still, after the match with Golden State, there was still no reason to sharply criticize the Lakers. Although Westbrook scored 2 points in 1/7 from the game and made 6 losses, which was alarming. Not in vain.
The Lakers once again lost to Phoenix (94: 123), this time at home. LeBron took a breather, this time playing Davis and Westbrook. There were no special questions for the first – 19 points and 6 assists. What can not be said about Westbrook. Russell scored 8 points with 3/12 from the game and 9 (!) Losses. A declarer who takes more losses than gains points and assists is unthinkable. And at the same time it shows just awful accuracy from the game.
In the fifth preseason match, the “Big Trio” finally appeared on the floor for the first time. It seemed that LeBron, Davis and Westbrook would finally please the fans with a victory and deal with Golden State, which left to play without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green . But no. Another failure. The star stats aren’t the worst for the preseason. Davis (20 points, 6 rebounds), James (17 points, 6 rebounds) and Westbrook (10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) looked good on paper, although they each spent about half an hour on the court and could have done better. In addition, Russell again had a lot of losses (5) and another unsuccessful shooting day – 3/9 from the field.
So why didn’t you manage to beat the team where Andrew Wiggins is the best basketball player ? There are several reasons. First, the Lakers lack depth. Carmelo Anthony, Deandre Jordan and Dwight Howard have played in the NBA All-Star Game for two 18 times. However, now they are able to show decent productivity in every fourth or fifth match. In other games, they are not useful. Rajon Rondo is even less pleased with a high-quality performance. Horton, Tucker, Ariza, Monk out of action, there is little health problems and Kendrick Nunn, from Kent Beyzmora expect only average utility protection. Austin Reeves, Chondy Brown, Trevelyn Queen, Joel Eey, Cameron Oliver andMack McClang is just listed on the application. Someone on a cheap salary had to be included, given the club’s expenses on LeBron, Davis and Westbrook.
Very far from Westbrook’s optimal shape. And in general it is not clear whether he is suitable as a star partner for LeBron and Davis. There are no top-end shooters among the Lakers’ leaders, and there are no such ones among the roleplayers after the injuries of the aforementioned performers. The average age of a team is 33.6 years, while in the NBA as a whole, this figure is 27 years. There was a lot of debate in the offseason as to whether age was a Lakers advantage or a disadvantage. On the one hand, having a large number of veterans means a huge experience of playing at the highest level. On the other hand, performers like Anthony, Howard and Rondo have long passed their peak. LeBron, 36, is no longer considered the undisputed best player in the NBA, although he still looks decent, approaching his 19th season of his career.
Westbrook says the loss problem is easy to fix. Supposedly teammates have to get used to his rhythm. Davis convinces the Lakers are about to transform themselves into dominant basketball. LeBron argues that preseason is not serious. Yes, pretty much so. But 0-5 and absolute lack of will on the floor – not what was expected from Los Angeles. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel does not seem to be in control of the situation at all and has given all the management functions in the team to the mercy of LeBron. There is no guarantee that the situation will get better with the start of the regular season. On the contrary, things could be even worse.
In a poll on the official website of the NBA, 72% of the league’s general managers named the Brooklyn Nets as the main contender for the title before the start of the preseason, while the Lakers were preferred by only 17% of functionaries. There are definitely fewer believers in Los Angeles now. Everything is really bad in the camp of the “lake”. The Lakers superteam is crumbling limp. At this point, even the most dedicated Los Angeles fans are unlikely to find any cause for optimism.