The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their third preseason loss in a row this week, falling to the Golden State Warriors 121-114 on Friday night.
This defeat in particular stung because it marked Russell Westbrook’s debut with the organization.
Westbrook struggled badly on the night, recording two points, seven rebounds, four assists and six turnovers on 1-for-7 shooting in 17 minutes of action.
The 32-year-old’s showing was so poor, in fact, that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had to come out afterwards and offer the one big reason it happened. Given how irrelevant preseason games normally are, the fact that Vogel felt pressure to make excuses after the fact is telling.
In light of his team’s struggles, Lakers star LeBron James came out and addressed the huge change the team has been forced to make ASAP: adjusting to a complete offensive overhaul.
“We pretty much have got a whole new offensive system this year that we’ve been working through over our practices since training camp started,” James said. “It’s an adjustment for us offensively, just having guys in different positions, having guys in different places on the floor with our new look and what we’re trying to do.”
At the end of the day, as far as James is concerned, this is a process.
“It’s going to be a process for us, but I think it will be better off for us in the long run. It keeps the ball moving from one side to another,” James said. “Not much with a dribble but more with a pass. And obviously we’ve got downhill attackers with Russ, Nunn, myself and Talen.”
The biggest star of the series has been identified. https://t.co/N4x9IW19OW
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 10, 2021
The Lakers have put a lot of work in over the summer with the expectation of competing for a title this year. Anthony Davis’ full body transformation has been incredible. Same with James’ improved physique.
If LA ultimately gets it together when the regular season commences and wins the way people expect them to – all of the preseason woes will be forgotten. Should the opposite happen, however, postmortems will likely view these early struggles as warning signs folks shouldn’t have ignored.