Lakers News: Julius Randle Frustrated By Lack Of Defensive Effort Against Nuggets
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Photo Credit: Darrell Ann

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t gotten off to the strong preseason start they were probably hoping for. The team is 0-3 in their three exhibition games so far, and outside of the play of rookie forward Kyle Kuzma, the team hasn’t shown many positives so far.

Especially bad has been a Lakers defense that allowed 101 points per 100 possessions over their first two games before allowing the Denver Nuggets to light them up for 122 points Wednesday night.

The defensive performance left Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton frustrated enough to call out his team’s defensive showing following the game, chalking up the team’s struggles to a lack of “effort.”

He wasn’t the only one to think the Lakers weren’t trying hard enough on the defensive end, either. Lakers forward Julius Randle also blasted the Lakers’ defense following the game via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:

The Lakers added Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over the summer, but he is the only player on the roster that figures to play a notable role that’s more known for defense than offense, which is why the Lakers don’t project to shut teams down all year.

But a lack of defensive talent is not what Randle and Walton are criticizing the team for. It would be one thing if the Lakers were executing their defensive principles and failing simply due to a lack of ability, but getting called out for not trying hard enough three games into the preseason would not appear to bode well for the team’s defensive fortunes this season.

The good news for the Lakers is the team has nowhere to go but up after ranking last in the league in defensive efficiency for the last two seasons, and that Randle appears to be playing better defense himself. The bad news for the team is that despite his improvement, they don’t appear anywhere close to climbing out of the league’s basement just yet.

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