Community Shootaround: Early Lakers Impressions

We got our first glimpse of the new-look Lakers on Thursday night, as LeBron James appeared in his first regular season game for the franchise in Portland against the Trail Blazers. While the Lakers stuck with the Blazers for three quarters, Portland ultimately pulled away in the fourth, securing a 128-119 win.

There were plenty of positive takeaways for the Lakers. Second-year guard guard Josh Hart had a great game off the bench and already looks to be pushing for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s starting job; the team played at a breakneck pace that allowed for plenty of transition opportunities; and, of course, LeBron looked like LeBron.

Still, two potential flaws with the Lakers’ roster that we heard about throughout the offseason were on display in the club’s first game. L.A. struggled from beyond the arc, missing its first 15 three-pointers and making just seven of 30 attempts for the game. No one besides Hart made more than a single three, prompting veteran free agent Nick Young to seemingly tweet his case for roster consideration after the game, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype relays (via Twitter).

In the view of Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (via Twitter), the Lakers will be fine without elite three-point shooting, but could badly use a “serviceable” big man for 10-12 minutes per game. JaVale McGee played 22 minutes for the Lakers on Thursday, but the team didn’t use another traditional center, leaving forward like Kyle Kuzma or James as the de facto fives in certain lineups. Pincus suggests (via Twitter) that perhaps Moritz Wagner could help out when he gets healthy, but until then, the Lakers may have to lean too heavily on small-ball lineups that should only be used in moderation.

Of course, it was only one game, and given the time it took LeBron to adjust to new teams in Miami in 2010 and Cleveland in 2014, it only makes sense that we should give the Lakers some leeway to figure things out as well. James made that point after the game, as Ohm Youngmisuk of relays.

“I always kind of compare it to like instant oatmeal — it is not that fast,” James said of developing chemistry. “It takes a while to get to where you can close your eyes and know exactly where your guys are.

“We’re literally less than a month in,” LeBron added, referring to the Lakers having opened training camp in late September. “So, it’s still early. You still got to go through some things. You’re going to go through some adversity. See how guys react to it. See what guys get going.”

What do you think? Will this Lakers team be fine once it gets another 15 or 20 games under its belt, or does this roster have flaws that will need to be addressed sooner or later in order to seriously compete with the best of the West? Join the discussion in the comment section below!

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19 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Early Lakers Impressions

  1. kdogpats

    They will be good but “compete with the best of the West?” Next year maybe

  2. Dionis

    LeBron is a joke man how can you seriously say you watched that game and say it was the supporting cast which failed? That whole 4th quarter it was Hart and Kuz getting buckets cutting the league down, LeBron nowhere to be found.

    I don’t want to hear about Lonzo either, he’s a bum just like Simmons and LeBron with that passive bs. Stauskas dropped 24 on your head and you lost you bums.

  3. imindless

    Lebron looked old, besides playoffs I have never seen him play and to be honest was disappointed. Zero hussle on d and most of his point can from getting to the hoop. To be honest I didnt even know lebron scored 26 till after the game, he was a non-factor most of it. Rondo, hart, ingram, mcgee where only solid contributors on both ends. Other than that id say we need some shooters.

  4. Z-A

    Stauskas thought he was back at Michigan. Pope looked like a spectator, forgot he was an NBA player. Stealing Money 101 – wonder if his offseason workout crossed paths with Sam Bradford.

  5. Ptn18

    Lakers can’t afford to lose young guys, and nobody will want the old misfits. LeBron doesn’t play uptempo basketball. He’s used to walking the ball up the court, milking the clock, then barreling into the lane or passing out for a 3. They need 3 point shooters.

    • Ptn18

      LeBron had a couple games in the 20’s in the playoffs last season, the rest were in the 40’s. If he’s wanting trophies, I doubt you’ll see many more 22 point games.

  6. Kenleyfornia74

    Team looked alright. Not the worst loss in the world. Lebrons 1st game with a new team have been terrible his whole career.

  7. Noel1982

    They’ll be fine in the sense they’ll fall somewhere between the 6th through 8th seed like most reasonable,minds optimistic and skeptical believe! Blazers can beat any team at home pretty comfortably in a given night

  8. gster24

    The key here is defense no D no win.lakers can’t play uptempo and not have transition D.

  9. Hannibal8us

    I thought they looked great, they went toe to toe with a playoff team and kept it close. They haven’t even begun to gel yet and they looked like a team that could beat good teams. The 3-pt shooting concerns me but 0-15 to start is unlikely to happen again even without a dominant 3 shooter and if they didn’t go 0-15 their lead would have been even larger than 10 points and who knows how Portland would have reacted. They exceeded my expectations for game one.

  10. The Phoenix Suns will win 50 games and will be the Cinderella team of the decade. F the Warriors and Lakers. F everyone!

    • I see your girlfriend broke up w/ you ! As for the Lakers? Ingram you’re going to be traded by seasons end ! Kuz and hart are keepers!

      • imindless

        Kuzma is trash and way older than ingram. Ingram played d and shoot the rock decently in first game.

  11. Spyglass1

    LeBron in July is different from LeBron in October. With that said will be interesting how many oat meal references he’s making in January if they are struggling. He literally quit for a month last year to prove a point to cavs management

  12. deano

    It is one game. If they go 3 for 15 on threes to start, it’s a different game. Not a great 3 pt team, but they aren’t going to go 0-15 the rest of the season. I think Hart is going to end up better than Kuz and I love Kuz. They’ve got to play D and rebound.

  13. deano

    PS…by all star game, Svi gets Lances minutes. If you watch him closely, this guy’s a good passer and can play point.

  14. x%sure

    GM Johnson wants uptempo, which is not Lebron’s ideal, but him at stretch 5 is interesting. That would improve hustle.

    I once said I would trade the #8 Sexton pick for Josh Hart. I also said Lakers would trade for Tristan once the season got underway. Those odds went down with Deng’s stretching, but if KCP is going to be disappointing, I can see

    Tristan T for
    Lonzo Ball & KCPope (KCP cannot be traded yet, prob Dec.15th).

    The Cavs seemed interested in Ball, and would be in a position to save money.
    The Lakers would have a 5 and still be in range of a max signing next spring. Kardashian approved!

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