The Los Angeles Lakers have had an undeniably excellent start to the 2016-17 NBA season, picking up six wins in their first 10 games. Their record was made even more impressive by the fact that most pundits projected them to be one of the worst teams in the league and finish the season at the bottom of the Western Conference.
The Lakers have managed to exceed expectations mainly due to their hustle and grit, finding ways to win games despite not having a true superstar on their roster. The second unit has been especially impressive and is currently the highest-scoring bench in the league.
Unfortunately, against the Minnesota Timberwolves the Lakers just couldn’t quite put everything together, and they lost 125-99 to conclude a three-game road trip. Afterwards, Lakers forward Julius Randle had some interesting comments, via Serena Winters’ transcription of Spectrum SportsNet:
Julius Randle admitted Lakers "didn’t deserve" to win tonight’s game. Said energy & ball movement just weren’t there.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 14, 2016
Randle’s strong words demonstrate the tone that the Lakers have taken this season. While they have clearly been having more fun than they did last season under then-coach Byron Scott, the team has also become deadly serious about winning games under Luke Walton‘s watch.
This is a positive trait to have in a young team, especially one playing in Los Angeles, where distractions abound. The Lakers should (and do) feel frustrated with a blowout loss to another young team that they will ideally be competing with for a playoff spot, and hopefully, they can use that frustration to improve as a basketball team.
As Randle noted, they didn’t come out with energy to start the game, and while they have managed to get away with it for most of the season, against the Timberwolves it came back to bite them. With another game coming up on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers will need to regroup, make adjustments, and get ready to get back in the win column.