Los Angeles Lakers Off To A Shaky Start And Need To Make Major Changes
So far, the Los Angeles Lakers have delivered a so-so performance. In a year when they’re anticipated to be among the top teams, they currently occupy the eighth position in the Western Conference with a record of 10-8. Unfortunately, injuries have caused the team to lose crucial games, placing them at the bottom of the standings. The slow start has been disappointing, but plenty of games remain left to play. Darwin Ham’s questionable coaching decisions have contributed to Los Angeles’s ‘ struggles thus far.
Recently, the Lakers are coming off a tough loss handed to them by Joel Embiid and The Philadelphia 76ers. While it’s no surprise, thanks to the increase in injuries, More importantly, the 44-point loss also became the worst experience for LeBron James, who is playing his 21st season in the NBA. He led the team with just 18 points, going 8-12 from the field and five assists. Surprisingly, he did not have a single rebound at all.
What’s next for the Lakers as the season goes on? We need lots of answers moving forward.
Inconsistency has been one of the main reasons why the Lakers have been struggling as of recently. Part of this is due to the length of the schedule. There would be times when the team would have hot/cold nights during back-to-back games on a nightly basis. Additionally, there would be games where the Lakers have not been leading after the first quarter, which is a reason for their losses in crucial games. Winning the first quarter is crucial if the Lakers want to improve more efficiently. This season, they own a net rating of -5.0 in the first quarter, which is 30th in the league.
Forward Anthony Davis, who’s entering his fifth season with the Lakers, has also shown inconsistency for most of the season. He hasn’t been making a lot of shot-making plays that he should been every night for the Lakers. There’s a reason why Los Angeles had resigned him this offseason to a three-year worth $186 max extension. They believe that Davis could be a difference maker for the long-term future. Right now, he’s not living up to those expectations due to the inconsistencies/injuries he’s had with the team thus far. Though early in the season, Davis must improve his A-game.
Not Enough Supporting Cast
The Lakers have not seen a lot of from effort on a daily basis from players like Austin Reaves. Reaves, who was recently resigned to a four-year, $56 million extension, has not been the best since last year. Currently, he is averaging 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. Additionally, his shooting is at 46%, which is okay but can improve. Still, he’s proven effective when coming off the bench. In the last nine games, the Lakers are 7-2 when Reaves comes off the bench while also possessing the league’s 7th-best point differential.
Forward Taurean Prince needs to step up as another shooter for the Lakers. The Lakers signed Prince for one year worth $4.5 million early this offseason. So far this year, the team has not witnessed consistent effort from him; he’s shooting just 40% from the field and a career-low 27.4% from three-point range. To improve, Prince must maintain aggressiveness on the ball, translating to an increased number of shots. The team, however, has not lost confidence.
What Changes Need To Happen
Continuing to play the young kids is a must if the Lakers want to get back to their winning ways. So far, we haven’t seen much action from guard Max Christie and center Jaxson Hayes. The Lakers know that both players can make an impact on the team moving forward. It would be nice if the Lakers could give them more playing minutes and have them in the starting lineup more often.