The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most hyped teams coming into the 2021-22 season, the NBA’s 75th. With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook as their big three to go along with Carmelo Anthony, Deandre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Nunn, and Malik Monk, the Lakers have a loaded roster. While there’s no definitive proof that the NBA fixes games, even the NBA’s front office would have to admit that the Lakers winning a title would be a perfect ending to the 75th NBA season. The Lakers and Boston Celtics are tied for the most championships in NBA history with 17, and the Lakers have been in 32 NBA Finals total. The only thing that could make this better is if the Lakers defeated the Celtics in the Finals to get that 18th championship. However, if their preseason performance is any indication of how they will play this season, then they will be lucky to make the Finals.
When Westbrook was first traded to the Lakers, many true NBA fans questioned why Westbrook, a somewhat selfish point guard who is one of the worst shooters in the NBA and causes turnovers galore, would work well when playing alongside two MVP caliber players. However, many casual fans shrugged off the questions about Westbrook’s relentlessness and floor spacing, because they were so excited to see everyone play together. Now, after six games, people are realizing what many knew all along: this big three simply can’t work together.
Their first preseason game came in the form of a blowout loss against the Brooklyn Nets. Keep in mind that James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant did not play, and while James and Westbrook didn’t play, Davis did. The Nets best player on the floor was LaMarcus Aldridge, who is 36 years old, and much older then Davis. The final score of this particular bloodbath was 123-97, but the Lakers get a little bit of a pass because it was their first game.
The second game was against the Phoenix Suns, and once again, Davis was by himself. While Chris Paul did play in this game, Devin Booker did not, so the Suns didn’t have all of their star power. The result was a 12-point loss. Next up was the Golden State Warriors, which had Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both playing. In this game, Davis got a rest, while James and Westbrook played in their first ever preseason game. Both did not play much, but in 17 minutes, Westbrook had six turnovers. Curry did not play much more then either of the Lakers’ stars, and the result was Jordan Poole stepping up to score 28 points. The result? 114-121, in favor of the Warriors.
After going 0-3, it was time for the Lakers to step it up, as they had a rematch against the Phoenix Suns. Booker didn’t play once again, and in this game, James took a rest, while Davis and Westbrook played together. In 25 minutes, Westbrook and AD combined for 27 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals, and 10 turnovers (9 of those came from Westbrook). There are some good things about that statline, but some pretty bad things as well. The result of this game was an even worse 123-94 blowout loss.
In game five, the big three would play their first ever game together, in a rematch against the Golden State Warriors. During the game, the big three would all play great. Davis had 20 points, Westbrook had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, and James had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Unfortunately, they combined for 11 turnovers, and they lost the game by 12 points. The worst part? Both Curry and Green weren’t playing! Three MVP talents lost against the Warriors bench!
After going 0-5, the Lakers finally caught a break, playing a lottery team in the Sacramento Kings. The big three was playing again, and at the very least, they would have a confidence boost as the preseason ended. Right?
Wrong. Somehow, the Lakers managed to lose to the Kings, as De’Aaron Fox had 21 points, Richaun Holmes put up a 15 point 10 rebound double-double, and Terrance Davis had 20 points off the bench. The loss was only by four points, but still… three superstars against Fox and company? This is truly unacceptable.
If the Lakers continue like this, their diamond season could turn into a lump of coal, and without so much as an NBA Finals appearance. Whatever’s going on, the Lakers have a lot of fixing to do if they truly want to contend. So yes, I do believe that people should be worried about the Lakers. But what do you think about them? Don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog for more articles and opinions on this upcoming NBA season, and as always, have an awesome day!