The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the most talked-about teams heading into the NBA trade deadline this year. Many expected the team to make some moves, but despite working the phones, the front office ultimately didn’t find anything they truly believed would make them better. As such, the team will now move forward with their trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook and work on fixing things internally.
In their first game after the deadline had passed, the Lakers looked like a much different team, especially those whose names had been floated around as trade possibilities. Both Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker were excellent as was rookie Austin Reaves, but the Lakers still failed to come out with a victory against the Golden State Warriors.
But coming off the performances the Lakers had put forth prior to the deadline, what they showed against Golden State was inspiring and Davis believes the passing of the trade deadline helped to relieve some of the pressure on players.
“I’ve never really been in it, except in New Orleans when I asked for it, but we had a little bit last year, as well. Anytime your name is mentioned in trades as a player it can weigh on you,” Davis said. “Possibly moving to another city. You start thinking. ‘Well, the team really doesn’t want me.’ Things like that. And when that time had passed, this is who we have — the 15 guys in that locker room. It kind of just takes weight off everyone’s shoulders. Okay, this is what we got. Let’s go. And we kind of did that all year, but we never talk about it, so you don’t know what guys are actually going through, what’s on their mind through that process.”
Once that time has passed there is no question for any of the players that they will be with the Lakers and that can change things. Davis believes the practice the team had also helped the team build some more confidence moving forward.
“So that’s just my personal opinion,” Davis added. “But I think when that time had passed, we had practice, we realized, this is our team, nothing’s going to happen, let’s do it. And guys had a little bit more swag today, a little more confidence, more energy. Played with more of a purpose. If we continue to play like this for the rest of the season, then I think we’ll put ourselves in a good position to be successful.”
Had the Lakers been giving this type of effort and performance all season long they would be in a much different position. But the Warriors game does give some hope that the Lakers can compete with good NBA teams and as long as James and Davis are on the roster, there will continue to be a belief that they have a chance.
Davis takes blame for Lakers free throw issues
One reason the Lakers have struggled lately has been their horrid shooting from the free-throw line. The issues are surrounding the whole team and Davis took his part of the blame for his issues at the charity stripe.
“Got to get in the gym and shoot more free throws,” Davis said. “That’s the only way to get out of it and it starts with me. I’ve been terrible from the line, especially the last two. I think I missed a total of eight. Maybe over the last three, eleven or something like that. It starts with me being better at the line. I take that personal when I miss free throws.
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