It’s only preseason, but times have been tough for the Los Angeles Lakers. LA dropped its first five contests by an average of 17.2 points, and injuries to key role players have significantly impacted the aging roster’s depth. Yet LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers’ two biggest stars, aren’t at all concerned with the team’s performance. Rather, their disappointment lies in the ending of one of the biggest television series of the year.
The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled throughout the preseason
LA turned over the majority of its entire roster this offseason, desperate to right the wrongs of last season’s disappointing first-round exit. While new pieces can take time to gel, a preseason win or two would make a lot of fans feel better.
With no James or Russell Westbrook, LA dropped its preseason opener 123-97 to the Brooklyn Nets. The next game was a 12-point loss to the Phoenix Suns, the same team who bounced them from the playoffs. LeBron and Russ then swapped out with AD for the Lakers’ next game, a 121-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
For game number four, Davis and Westbrook played 28 and 26 minutes, respectively. But even with no Devin Booker, the Suns dominated 123-94. Finally, Tuesday’s home game against Golden State was the first where LA’s big three all saw time on the court. But James and Westbrook combined for 11 turnovers as the Warriors pulled away to win 111-99.
“It’s going to take a minute for us to become the team that we know we are going to be capable of being,” James said after the recent loss to the Warriors. “So, it’s all about just working the process, being patient with the process, understanding that we’re going to have frustrating moments. We’re going to have moments where we’re not quite right there. We may take a step backward. But that’s all part of … I think nothing is worth having if it’s not worth working for and I think we’re going to hit some moments where we feel like we’re right there but we’re not quite there.”
LA has one more preseason game, a road matchup on Thursday against the Sacramento Kings, before hosting Golden State on Opening Night next Tuesday.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis discuss ‘Squid Game’
The television series Squid Game, which debuted on September 17, is Netflix’s biggest-ever series at launch. The South Korean drama has been viewed by 111 million accounts since being released, with two of those accounts belonging to James and Davis.
The superstar duo is apparently just as engulfed by the series as many others. And following a quick media session, James and Davis spoke candidly on the show’s controversial ending (h/t: Kyle Goon).
[Spoiler alert: Squid Game spoilers ahead.]
James: “I didn’t like the ending though. … I know they started off on a season two, but like, get on the f****** flight and see your daughter, bro.”
Davis: “I won the game. And I want to get my wife back. … Money talks, bro.”LeBron James and Anthony Davis
The Purple and Gold’s resident TV critics may have to wait a while before their concerns are addressed. Last month, Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk said there was nothing in the works yet for a second season.
It’s time for the Lakers to turn things around
With the season for binge-watching TV shows just about over, it’s time for James, Davis, and the rest of the Lakers to focus on the court and deliver on their championship expectations.
Last season’s 42-30 record was brought about by LeBron and AD missing significant time. The 36-year old James missed 27 games last season with a sprained ankle, his second lengthy injury in three seasons. As for the 28-year-old Davis, the big man strained his calf and missed 36 of 72 games, while also straining his groin against Phoenix in the postseason.
If those two are healthy, the Lakers will win plenty of games. But they also need Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, and the other assortment of role players to help contribute. LA also suffered last season due to poor performances from role players like Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.
If all goes well in Lakerland this season, LeBron and AD will have only basketball to focus on until June. However, if they start planning what TV shows to watch by April or May, things have gone horribly wrong.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.