The Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled through the first several weeks of the 2021-22 campaign. It’s generated growing concern around a legitimate run toward vying for an NBA title. Despite that, former NBA guard Jamal Crawford has pushed back against the sprouting doubt directed toward the Lakers.
Lakers continue stumble through early-season schedule
Entering the 2021-22 season, the Lakers were aware of the massive adjustments ahead for their revamped roster.
It’s been just that as Los Angeles has struggled to find any basis of consistency, falling to under .500 through the first 19 games holding a 9-10 record. The Lakers have had issues defensively while their third-quarter performance remains their kryptonite.
In spite of these persistent issues, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner Jamal Crawford remains confident they will figure it out.
Former NBA guard Jamal Crawford preaches patience as the Lakers figure it out: ‘It’s gonna take a minute’
The Lakers’ continued shortcomings have created growing concern around the team’s chances to contend for an NBA title.
The lack of consistency has fueled the narrative that Los Angeles may not possess the roster necessary to add an 18th championship. Despite that, former NBA guard Jamal Crawford pumped the brakes a bit on the chatter voicing that it will take time for the Lakers to figure out their identity.
“It’s gonna take a minute,” Crawford said during his appearance on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on Tuesday night. “Obviously having eight different starting lineups, guys in and out of the league. This team was built for LeBron to be there. So when he’s not there, now it’s like we’ll get more Russ, we’ll get more AD. But the thing about it is the Lakers are a team that’ll be judged on their postseason success. Everybody’s saying, you know what, this is a championship-level team.
“It’s about creating habits. I remember Shaq’s team, when they won in Miami, they were kind of up and down the first part of the season. They figured it out. They found out their roles, this is what we’re gonna do, this is how we need to move. Right now, the Lakers are in the process of figuring it out. I think they’ll play their best ball towards the end of the season. But, right now, going through the process sometimes can suck.”
Adding to Crawford’s point, the Lakers are in the thick of the transition process with players figuring out their definitive roles, which has been challenging to navigate through due to injuries. Los Angeles has moved through much of the early portion of the season without James, while key role players such as Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, and Austin Reaves remain sidelined.
These factors have played a significant part in preventing the team from truly gelling and finding the necessary on-court chemistry. More than 60 regular-season games remain on the schedule, giving them enough time to develop the blueprint for consistent success.
Los Angeles is starting to show promising qualities
The Lakers may be playing nowhere near where they believe they can, but there have been spurts of promise over the last couple of games.
Although Sunday’s win over the Detroit Pistons featured struggles through the first three quarters, it concluded with a dominant fourth quarter. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook combined for 27 of the team’s 37 points in the final period to erase a 15-point deficit.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s loss to the Knicks featured much of the same early-game struggles. After a sluggish first quarter, the Lakers picked up their defensive intensity to completely erase a 25-point deficit. Los Angeles didn’t pull out the win but showed the grit and competitiveness needed to face adversity, especially with LeBron James sidelined.
These are qualities that the Lakers can build on that will push them through in the challenging moments that will lie ahead.