Through the first couple of games, the Lakers haven’t shown as good of a version as people may expect, but that’s ok.
The team seems to be struggling defensively, but is it as bad as people think?
Let’s look at the Lakers defense and see what is happening.
It may seem that this year the Lakers have been struggling defensively, but that statement isn’t necessarily true. The team came to Thursday’s game against the Spurs ranked as the league’s fourth-best defense, but then proceed to look to struggle to stop the Spurs at all. Anthony Davis in particular had a bad defensive night, allowing LaMarcus Aldridge to score a game-high 28 points on 11-18 shooting.
The conception that the Lakers defense isn’t good is false, but this belief might be a consequence of last year’s championship team. Last year’s team was so good defensively that it may make this team look like it isn’t very good defensively. Still, the team has room for improvement, something that will be shown naturally as the team gets more reps together.
The biggest issue might be consistency, as in some games, the team looks locked in and some nights just seem off.
After the Spurs game, Anthony Davis said: “Some nights we bring it defensively, and some nights we don’t”.
Anthony Davis: "Some nights we bring it defensively and some nights we don't. … Our communication has been terrible. … We gotta be way better defensively if we want to have a chance to defend our title…" pic.twitter.com/fEXXxVVbvS
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 8, 2021
This is something that can happen with a championship team. The lack of urgency to bring your very best every night is a challenge that Coach Frank Vogel will face this season. He will have to motivate the players and bring the best out of them not only in the postseason but in the regular season too.
Another explanation of the Lakers’ apparent struggles can be caused by players missing some time. Alex Caruso missed five games due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has missed three games and counting due to an ankle injury.
This might not seem big, but the roster suffer some big changes this offseason and this is the time where the coaching staff figure out the rotation and the players develop chemistry.
What do you think, Laker Nation?
Featured Image: Adam Pantozzi/NBAE/Getty Images