When the season got underway, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, and neutrals who have a love for the NBA, were ecstatic about the way the Staples Center side had set about rejuvenating their roster. However, the dream team built by general manager Rob Pelinka is some way from delivering the goods.
The Lakers brought in massive names to complement their existing stars, and key among the process was the threesome of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and newly arrived Russell Westbrook.
A trio that many felt was the strongest in the NBA. Rob Pelinka also snapped up Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and a host of others, but it hasn’t led to a great start to the season.
Having won the NBA title in 2019-20, Frank Vogel’s side slumped to a rather pedestrian season last time around, hence the need for new faces (albeit not particularly young ones) and NBA basketball predictions today still has the Lakers well placed at (+700) to reclaim their crown though those odds don’t necessarily reflect the reality on the ground.
Following their recent loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-83, Davis spoke out about the lack of cohesion and end product;
“We sucked; no defense. Can’t score. That’s not just this third quarter; it’s every third quarter we’ve played this season. We come out slow, lackadaisical offensively and defensively. We got to get it together. Why? I can’t tell you. But we got to do a better job.
“We got to decide who we want to be. A championship team? That’s not us right now,” Davis said. “We’re not winning a championship the way we’re playing. We got to be better, and we got to care more for our wins at home. Wins in general. That was embarrassing.”
They followed up their humiliation with a narrow win over the San Antonio Spurs but are still only 8-6 and sit fourth in the Pacific Division and some way back from the unstoppable Golden State Warriors and the in-form Phoenix Suns.
Clearly, bringing in a bunch of talent won’t always lead to immediate results, and right now, Vogel will have to hope that his team gels into place before the season gets much older; otherwise, the work put in by Rob Pelinka and co may end up looking like an expensive mistake.
LeBron has been missed of late, the veteran suffering from an abdominal issue, but the Lakers have enough strength in depth to pick up wins more frequently and should be able to do so without relying so heavily on Westbrook and Davis.
Prior to the season start, both the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets were seen as the teams who would be vying for the title, but while the Nets, led by James Harden and Kevin Durant, have put in a great run of form of late, Los Angeles is suffering from inconsistency.
The NBA season is a long one, and that may play in Vogel’s favor, but it’s not long enough to be able to accommodate much more of the average form shown by the Lakers.