Even last year, the Los Angeles Lakers, declared a super team, ended in a serious, million-dollar fall. They didn’t even make it to the playoffs, and the situation got even worse during the summer offseason: no players arrived who would bring changes to the squad, and Russell Westbrook, who became virtually irreplaceable in the league due to his huge contract, remained in the team.
This season has barely started, the Lakers have already set a historic negative record and started 0-3, which has raised the voice of the not-so-quiet opinions that the cup is full, that Westbrook has no place to stay in LA, and that’s not the case. you can go on. It is hard to disagree with this position, especially for those who have already seen a Lakers game this year. According to many, it was already a huge mistake that the team signed Russell Westbrook last summer, but this decision was partly the will of LeBron James, so it was not questioned much within the franchise.
Since then, it has been proven that Westbrook is by no means the player who would fit into the team at any level, but his contract is so large that it is almost impossible to find a team that would be willing to take over the manager along with his known salary. To be precise, the 33-year-old player is forced to fork out about 47 million dollars this season.
In addition, there is still plenty that can hurt the newly appointed head coach, Darvin Hamnek and LeBron James’ head. After last year’s terrible season, everyone thought that the first step towards change would be a new head coach. This happened during the summer, Frank Vogel was thanked for the job and Darvin Ham was appointed in his place.
It soon became clear, however, that the person of a head coach would not bring about radical change, and the framework had to be touched upon, which, however, did not go as planned. He came to the team Patrick Beverley, who, in addition to having good defensive skills, cannot add much to the game in attack, but the team signed the Loonie Walker IV also from the San Antonio Spurs, who was the only valuable acquisition of the Lakers in the summer. The quarterback is a serious reinforcement in attack, but so far he has only partially proven this on the field.
As for youth, in the Anthony Davis trade three years ago, the Lakers specifically gave up their entire future as they sacrificed a lot of future draft picks for the tall man. Thus, in the short term, Los Angeles cannot count on signing promising talents from the NBA’s player exchange.
Let’s get into what’s behind the terrible start to the season. It was not by chance that we highlighted Loonie Walker first, as the Lakers desperately need reliable pitchers from a distance. This is mostly supported by the fact that the team set a historic, negative record when it comes to triples. In the first two games of the season, the team aimed quite scandalously from beyond the line, producing an unprecedentedly low percentage. Quantitatively, this means that out of 85 attempts, the Lakers’ players managed to hit the ring only 19 times, which means an efficiency of 22%.
This is the weakest mark in NBA history, looking at the first two meetings of the regular season.
And as they say, it was still nothing, as they shot even worse in Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers, making just six of 33 three-pointers. Ironically, LeBron James only said this after the defeat:
We can’t throw a cent into the ocean.
The Lakers’ biggest star was also asked about Russell Westbrook after the game against Portland, but he did not comment on his teammate’s performance. It should also not be forgotten that in the match against the Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook did not hit the hoop once out of 11 attempts, while he scored four baskets against Portland, but he managed to do so in 15 attempts as well. In the match against the Trail Blazers, the manager also made such incomprehensible and bad decisions that he helped the opponent to bring the game back in the last seconds and beat the Lakers.
The weak pitching form was also accompanied by an absolutely disorganized game, the frustration of the stars during the match, and extremely bad rebounding, from which Portland gained valuable points. Furthermore, the situation is not helped by the fact that, according to local sources, there is also an extremely bad and tense atmosphere in the dressing room.
Of course, only three games have passed in the 82-game regular season, so there is far from burying the team, but significant changes must be made quickly, because if everything continues like this, the Californians may very soon give up the playoff spots.
The first step towards change would clearly be trading Russell Westbrook.
The continuation does not promise to be easier either. The Lakers will play at Denver’s home from Wednesday to Thursday morning, then play as a guest of Minnesota, then clash with Denver again after the opponent is the New Orleans Pelicans, who also have a strong playing force. So if LeBron James doesn’t pay attention, they could very quickly find themselves at a serious disadvantage in the already extremely strong and fierce Western Conference.
(Cover image: Getty Images)