The Lakers are considered to be one of the favorites in the West after trading for Russell Westbrook and adding a collection of veteran talent, but they haven’t looked like contenders so far, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. L.A. dropped to 0-4 in the preseason with Sunday’s 29-point loss to the Suns, and Anthony Davis admitted that having so many new players creates adjustment issues that could linger into the start of the regular season.
“We want to be good, but we don’t want to skip steps. You can’t rush the process of what we’re trying to do and win championships,” he said. “We know, possibly, there could be struggles to start the season. … But we never want to get out to a slow start — 0-5, 0-6, whatever — we still want to be able to fight through our mistakes while winning games.”
The Lakers will get their first look tonight at Davis, Westbrook and LeBron James all on the court at the same time, one week before their season opener. Westbrook has struggled in his new surroundings, shooting 1-for-7 Friday in his debut, then following that with an eight-point, nine-turnover performance against Phoenix, but he’s not concerned.
“I never had one good preseason, I mean personally,” he said. “I never really worry about it because it’s preseason.”
There’s more from Los Angeles:
- The Lakers are getting the defensive boost they expected from free agent addition Kent Bazemore, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. At 6’4″, Bazemore brings versatility on defense and regularly matches up in practice with both James and Westbrook. “I really think Baze has separated himself some,” coach Frank Vogel said. “His wingspan and athleticism have been more impressive up close, in that regard.”
- The Lakers’ 2021/22 roster is the most top-heavy group John Hollinger of The Athletic can remember seeing since Miami put together its initial “big three” in 2010. As Hollinger observes, the Lakers’ three stars will make more than $120MM on their own this season, while nine other players on the roster are on minimum-salary contracts.
- Within Hollinger’s preview of the Lakers’ season, he also recaps the team’s offseason moves, examines Westbrook’s potential fit, and shares his regular season projection for the club. Hollinger has L.A. finishing with 52 wins, good for third in the West.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.