The Lakers’ preseason is being a clear example of everything that can go wrong with the Angelenos. Injuries (first Trevor Ariza and now Malik Monk), a veteran team that does not defend, the worst version of Westbrook and many things to do without much possibility of changes. At the moment, Frank Vogel has the well-known trump card that this is preseason and, of course, also with the fact that he is not counting on LeBron James, dressed in a suit on the bench and with a very long rest so that he arrives in the best possible way to his 19th season in the NBA. And yes, it is true that we will not know exactly the answer that this template will be able to give in a few weeks. But, for the moment, things are not going well. And the situation, far from being alarming, could exemplify what is to come.
Chris Paul scored 15 points and danced with the Los Angeles defense, who could do nothing against the power of the point guard, hardened in a thousand battles and very prone to pacing in the face of weaker and puny defensess. In addition, four other Suns players reached double digits in scoring, with 13 points from Landry Shamet, 12 + 9 from JaValee Mcgee, 12 + 9 from Jalen Smith and 11 + 9 from DeAndre Ayton. Almost identical numbers in rebounds and annotation that demonstrate the interior dominance of Monty Williams’ team against a team that, remember, has Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and outside players who tend to (usually) rebound a lot and better than its rivals.
In the Lakers there was nothing. Fourth defeat and almost fourth beating for them (Nets, Suns, Warriors and Suns again), with terrible sensations and yes, we insist, room for improvement. But also, we insist, a squad that arrives with defined roles from the past, that will have a hard time adapting to the present and that will have excessively limited patience on the part of the fans, who want to see that conglomeration of stars win. . Against the Suns, 19 points from Davis and 17 from Carmelo. And that’s it. There is simply no more to scratch from and even that seems insufficient when it comes to players who were part of the most absolute elite in the fairly recent past.
There are nine days left until the 2021-22 basketball course begins. Until then, the Lakers will play with the Warriors again (with whom they debut on the 20th) and will do the same with the Kings. Short trips, all within the parameters of the Western Conference and against rivals that they will meet repeatedly during the campaign. That will be the time they have to straighten things out and not get into loops in which Westbrook, of course, has fallen again. To the reproaches of analysts and journalists, at the end of the game, he replied that “you will tell me when he distributes 20 assists …”. A lot of ego for just 8 points, 3 of 12 in field goals and 5 assists in almost 26 minutes of play.
And, in the midst of all that and the injuries (something key for them, more than ever, this season), the teasing begins to happen. James Ennis, player for the Suns, has put a jocular tweet on social networks in which he said something like “I do defend, sign me”. Analysts talk about Westbrook’s problems to be within the game scheme of a Vogel that gives importance to defense, Howard and Rondo are two years older than in 2020, when they were key in achieving the ring and everything happens, another time, because of Davis’s physical condition (can’t be judged yet) and, obviously, LeBron’s. The star turns 37 on December 30, but if she’s healthy, anything is possible. Because yes, the sensations are bad. But this is just the preseason. We insist.
I play defense sign me already lol
– James Ennis (@JamesDa_Truth) October 11, 2021