This preseason has not been pretty for the Los Angeles Lakers as although they have been missing key players in every game, they are 0-4 and have struggled on both ends of the floor.
The most recent loss came on Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns and it was the ugliest of the bunch with the Lakers falling 123-94. Outside of one 12-0 run in the second quarter, the Lakers were absolutely dominated by the Suns.
While head coach Frank Vogel is not yet concerned about his team, he would like to see improvements moving forward.
“We got to be better. We haven’t played great,” Vogel admitted. “There’s going to be an adjustment period with so many new faces. We understand that. Hopefully, it doesn’t take too much time to get everybody on the same page and in sync. Guys’ game legs underneath them and all that type of thing, but we still got to be better than we were tonight.”
The Lakers’ biggest issue in the loss to the Suns was taking care of the ball as they turned it over 23 times. While that is inexcusable, Vogel attributed it to new players learning how to play together.
“Just a lot of guys trying to integrate into a new system with new teammates. A lot of miscues on pass-and-catch situations, lobs, etcetera. Situations where we were a little too careless with the basketball. You see that a lot with vets in the preseason. But definitely got to be better.”
The Lakers’ new point guard Russell Westbrook was the main culprit with nine turnovers on the night, and that comes after he turned it over six times in his first preseason game with the Lakers.
“We’ll look at the tape. He’s trying,” Vogel said of Westbrook. “He’s trying hard to distribute and get his teammates involved. Play extra-pass basketball like we’re asking him to. New set of teammates, new system. It’s going to time some time. Not worried about it.”
Vogel feels that Westbrook doing what he does best, which is getting to the rim, is an easy solution for cutting down on turnovers.
“Yeah, he’s a dynamic rim attacker. One of the best in the league at rim field-goal attempts. Him and Giannis [Antetokoumpo]. That’s what he’s going to be for us this year. He’s going to be someone that lives in the paint and is either finishing or creating for others.”
Lakers’ big three expected to play together for first time on Tuesday
One other reason for the Lakers’ struggles this preseason is that they have yet to have all three of their stars playing together in a game. That is expected to change on Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors though as Anthony Davis revealed that he, LeBron James and Westbrook will all play.
With only two preseason games remaining before Opening Night, the Lakers are running out of time to build continuity to it is good to see that their stars will all be playing on Tuesday.
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