Lakers roadblock No. 3: Managing egos
The biggest opponent that the Lakers will face this season are the men looking back at them in the mirror. Of course, they are going to have showdowns with opposing teams, that much is clear. But regardless of how much talent a team is composed of, hard work is always going to trump talent if talent does not work hard. Moreover, hard work is always going to trump talent if talent does not work together.
Look back at last season’s Miami Heat team that gritted their way all the way to the NBA Finals. They may not have come out on top as they had hoped but did anyone in their right mind foresee them even advancing to that point? Did anyone even foresee them advancing past the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round?
Perhaps there are psychics out there who knew that was coming, but the Miami Heat were nowhere near the most talented team in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. What they lacked in talent, they made up for in solidarity. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were the superstars, but that entire roster truly came together as one throughout that run.
This season, the Lakers have assembled arguably the deepest collection of talent in the league. With so much talent, there is going to be competition for minutes every single day. That ongoing competition will surely stand to benefit the team on the court, but it will be interesting to monitor how certain scenarios impact the mentality of individual players off the court.
Christian Wood and D’Angelo Russell come to mind as the two most notable guys whose faithfulness to the team as a whole will be tested. These are two ballers with an undeniable amount of talent, but both have raised question marks due to past character concerns. The past is in the rearview, and it will be their responsibility to keep their sights on the road ahead.
That road may get bumpy at times, but the path to the promised land is never an easy one. There will be injuries, difficult matchups, and moments of frustration in the minds of different players. Those are just a few of the ongoing challenges that the team will have to face this season. As long as the team faces those challenges together, there is no telling the things that this Lakers team can achieve.