Let’s face it, the first few weeks of the season have been rough for the Los Angeles Lakers.
A .500 record after 12 games seems modest, especially when compared to their dreadful 2-10 start last year. Though it is already a massive improvement from how their previous campaign started, the quality of play during a good number of those games has left a lot to be desired.
Not once over the first ten games of the 2023-24 season did LeBron and company have any sort of lead at the halftime break – a statistic brought up by Rachel Nichols on her program ‘Bully Ball’ as the Lakers were the only team in the league to have struggled that much in the opening half. LA finally snapped the curse with a convincing 74-51 scoreline in their 11th game of the season, albeit against the struggling Memphis Grizzlies who were still without star player Ja Morant.
The Lakers went on to close out the game dominantly thanks to key performances across the board from Bron himself, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Austin Reaves. With their third straight win in the books, it looked like Darvin Ham’s rotation change of putting Cam Reddish in as a starter while AR-15 made his impact felt off the bench was finally flourishing.
In what can only be described as the most Laker thing possible, their steady improvement lasted only 24 hours.
The Lakers fixed their biggest problem for just one game.
The Lakers were back to square one in their very next game and found themselves down 59-72 at halftime against the Sacramento Kings. Even a fourth-quarter surge, something the Lakers have been accustomed to all season, was not enough to steal yet another come-from-behind victory as they ultimately fell 110-125.
Perhaps the defeat can be attributed to off nights from Reaves and Davis, both of whom put up staggeringly low numbers despite playing the most amount of minutes, however, the theme was just the same any way you put it — they played from behind and fell short again.
Should there be any drastic changes from the loss to Sacramento? Well, yes and no. The reality is the changes have just been implemented and it worked for a short stretch up until now. It’s also important to consider that this is the second consecutive night the Lakers played and a step down in performances are really likely to happen.
But that still doesn’t mean everything should stay the same especially when the struggles are evident so early in the match. Increased minutes for Jaxson Hayes or even Max Christie might be on the cards.
Maybe even a heavily-speculated deal with the Chicago Bulls for either Zach Lavine or Alex Caruso will finally materialize and become the next blockbuster trade facilitated by Rob Pelinka just like the one that secured the services of Rui and Vando last season. Whatever the case is, the end goal remains the same for the Purple and Gold: get in front early and closeout.