Despite going 1-5 in the preseason, Lakers fans should be encouraged on how their 2 top players LeBron James and Anthony Davis has looked. In the 3 games that Davis has appeared in he averaged 19.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 blocks on 52.6% from the field and 40.0% from 3 in 21.4 minutes. James on the other hand averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists on 48.8% shooting and 31.3% from 3 in 19.0 minutes. The only concern going forward with these 2 stars will be health. Davis missed of 3 of the 6 games due to back tightness. However, the Lakers say it was for precautionary reasons and didn’t want to risk anything. He should be good to go for Tuesday’s opener against the Golden State Warriors. James missed 2 games simply because of rest.
On the flipside, the team as a whole definitely have some issues that will have to be addressed sooner than later. Outside shooting remains a glaring problem. Lakers shot 30% (66-220) from 3 in the entire preseason, which is well below the league average. While the shooting can improve when the regular season gets underway, changes will have to be made one way or another if they want to give themselves a chance in a deep Western Conference.
Injuries have been a big issue for the Lakers for past 2 seasons and it’s already becoming a problem. Dennis Schroder has a finger injury and there’s concerns that it will be a long-term issue. The significance of it and the timetable for recovery has not been released yet. Lakers experimented bringing Russell Westbrook off the bench to give them a different look but that didn’t last long. After 5 minutes, Westbrook came out of the game with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are very tricky and can linger for a while without proper recovery. Westbrook’s status for opening night remains a question mark, although he told coach Darvin Ham that he’ll be fine. Lonnie Walker was held out of the final preseason game in Sacramento with an ankle injury but is expected be ready for opening night.
While the Lakers got blown out in their final preseason game 133-86 against the Kings and finished with a 1-5 record, LeBron James remains confident in this roster: “I always come in optimistic about every season no matter what the team I’ve played for throughout my career. So, you know I’ve always been high energy, high level, high optimism coming into the season. I like the way our team is constructed but we have to continue to work because you know a lot of the Western Conference teams, a lot of the NBA teams right now have been together for a couple years or a few years and we haven’t so we can’t have an opportunity to not, you know get better on a day-to-day basis. And when you look at the top teams in the West, you’ve got the Clippers and you’ve got Phoenix, you’ve got Denver and that’s just to name a few of the teams that’s going come out and be ready to go right from the jump because of the chemistry they’ve had for quite a while now so we’re going to have to continue to learn on the fly and not waste a day.”
Lakers open the regular season Tuesday night on the road against the defending NBA champion Warriors.