The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-22 NBA season widely regarded as one of two favorites to win the championship.
With 36 games in the books, LA looks like anything but a contender. The team is 17-19 on the year and sits seventh in the Western Conference.
Barring a miracle, this will likely be a lost season.
On Wednesday evening, following yet another embarrassing loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Lakers star LeBron James spoke to the media about what he perceives to be his team’s biggest weakness.
“There’s a difference between careless turnovers and attack turnovers,” James said. “We gotta cut down on our careless turnovers, the ones that’s just unforced. We’re gonna have attack turnovers, which is OK. We have a lot of attackers and we understand that.
“But, the careless turnovers, where, literally, you just turn the ball over and there’s no pressure or there’s no reason for it, those are the ones that get us in trouble.”
LA recorded 18 turnovers on Wednesday night. As a group they’re averaging 15.9 turnovers per game – good for 28th in the NBA.
The Lakers’ final possession against the Grizzlies perfectly encapsulates this team’s season thus far:
Lakers couldn’t get a shot up on their last posssession pic.twitter.com/RwklAYbKPx
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 30, 2021
“Looked like [Russell Westbrook] was gonna go back door at one point, then he backed back out and I was already in the air,” James recalled after the game. “I had slipped before on my drive, which kind of threw my rhythm off.”
Westbrook has played a significant role in LA’s turnover woes this year. For that reason and many others the team has been working hard to trade him before the deadline.
As things presently stand, the Lakers have spoken to two different teams about possibly taking Westbrook off their hands.
James, for what it’s worth, has made his opinion on playing alongside Westbrook going forward perfectly clear.
That’s definitely one way to celebrate your birthday.https://t.co/lNQAfTc1bm
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 30, 2021
Because of how wonky COVID has made this season, the Lakers still have an opportunity to right the ship. But changes need to be made – ASAP.
Will they ultimately be able to get them done? Time will tell.