The Los Angeles Lakers have not looked like the team they were hoping to be through the first 17 games of the 2021-22 season. LeBron James has missed 10 games due to injury, and the team is 8-9 after losing three straight and four of their last five.
Of course, the Lakers always knew that it was going to take time for them to reach their full potential. James, Russell Westbrook and nearly everyone on the roster preached patience during the preseason. However, fans are slowly losing that patience with each passing game.
What has been even more frustrating is the fact that — at times — the Lakers have looked phenomenal. Their first quarter against the Boston Celtics was one of their best of the year. However, another third-quarter meltdown ended their chances of picking up a big win against their rivals.
James was asked following the game if he took away more from their excellent first quarter or their abysmal third quarter. “Well for me, it’s never as bad as it may seem, and it’s never as good as it may feel,” James said in response. “I stay even-keeled throughout the whole journey understanding it’s a process for us. And I’ve always felt comfortable when things are uncomfortable.
“So I look forward to the process of us trying to get better. Us getting better, not trying, we will get better. We will improve,” James reassured. “But that’s just us being uncomfortable. We should be uncomfortable every single day in our film sessions and our walk throughs and our practices when we’re on the floor until we right the ship and then we should be even more uncomfortable when things start to feel good because like I said, it’s never as good as it may feel, and it’s never as bad as it may seem.”
James is not one to hold back when discussing the state of his teams. So one on hand, if he feels comfortable and believes in the ceiling of the Lakers as currently constructed, there’s reason to trust him.
On the other hand, the Lakers have looked bad for several games now, and it’s the same mistakes being made over and over again. A lack of effort on defense, rebounding deficiencies, and little to no offensive movement have been the recurring themes in every Lakers game, regardless of result.
All of these things are fixable and would give them time to work on more complex issues that would benefit them come the postseason. Perhaps James and the Lakers are on their way to fixing them, and the results are coming in the next few games.
Anthony Davis calls for better effort and communicationFor much of the season so far, the Lakers have looked lost on the defensive end. It looked particularly ugly against the Celtics in the second half when Boston was able to get whatever they wanted in the paint and on the perimeter. Davis spoke about what needs to be fixed there.
“A little bit of both. Effort is No. 1. Communication I think is No. 2. Just talking. Everybody just doing their job. Bigs doing what we’re supposed to do on pick-and-roll coverages. Guards doing what they’re supposed to do with guard-guard screens. Everyone just has to do their job and follow the game plan.”