The Los Angeles Lakers will enter the 2019-20 NBA season with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and higher expectations than they’ve had in nearly a decade.
This is easily the best roster the Lakers have assembled since their championship run during the 2009-10 season, but it may take a little while for a huge number of new pieces to gel.
While Lakers fans everywhere may be prepared to hang up their 17th banner at Staples Center, many within the organization know they have to be cautious with managing their goals. Reach too high and it may bring disappointment great enough to make Davis want to leave.
That’s why an unnamed Lakers executive tried to temper these expectations by telling fans that they have ‘smaller stuff to accomplish first’ before they’ll be ready to compete for a championship, according to Keith Smith of Real GM:
Team executive on expectations: “I know you want me to say a title, and that’s always the goal, but we have smaller stuff to accomplish first. We’ll keep that in-house, but you want to take a progressive approach to things. Walk before you run sort of stuff. But yes, our end goal is to win championships.”
Despite this, the players on the Lakers all seem committed to playing their hardest for a championship. This includes Kyle Kuzma, who seems ready for a ‘big year’ now:
“I just want to do as much as I can. I’ve been working super hard this summer on my game. I’m expecting to have a big year, too.”
The Lakers have obviously chosen the strategy of keeping expectations low from fans in order to avoid pushback should things not go according to plan.
Even still, the Lakers clearly have one of the best rosters in the league and some might even argue they top the list. But the Western Conference is immensely tougher this year than it’s really ever been with six or seven teams being in legitimate contention to make it to the 2020 NBA Finals.
The good part about this strategy is if they start the season well, they can quickly shift to championship mode, but it gives them a solid fallback option if they start out slow like they did last season.
The Lakers obviously have the same goals as everyone else. But outright saying that and then not performing to that level leads to major criticism and sometimes firings. The Lakers front office has done their job and it’s now up to the players to do the work themselves.