The Los Angeles Lakers dropped to 0-3 in the preseason on Friday night when they fell to the Golden State Warriors in the 2021-22 debuts of both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
As can be expected, both James and Westbrook looked rusty in their first game action since last season’s playoffs. This was their first game playing together, so there is still a lot for them to sort out such as ball-handling duties and the defensive scheme.
With James entering the 19th season of his career, the expectation is he will only play in two or three of the Lakers’ six preseason games.
He gave the reason for that, stating that he gets more out of practices than preseason games at this stage of his career.
“I just want to continue to play ball, continue to work our habits, things of that nature. Preseason is, I care more about the practice court than I care about the preseason games,” James said. “You get out there, you play rotations, they’re trying to figure out and things of that nature, so there’s no much you can get out of a preseason game for me individually. But I love our practices. I love to see what are we doing as a team to work behind closed doors. So I don’t know, I don’t really put too much in the preseason, to be honest.”
James went on to clarify that there is things that players can take away from preseason, but he is not concerned with results.
“It means something as far as like individuals getting their rhythm, getting in game shape. We have our practices, but being out on the floor, bumping against another team and things of that nature, that helps. All I’m saying for me, it’s nothing I’m gonna learn in preseason at this point in my career, nothing at all [laughs]. I’m not gonna learn anything, nothing. That means zero. We’re working our habits and building camaraderie and chemistry on the floor and that’s always good.
“But I said like, I love the practices more than the preseason games because you could be making mistakes and you figure it out right there. You’re able to stop it and let’s talk about it and things of that nature and go back and rewatch and things. You can do that obviously the next day after the preseason game, but you could do it right on the fly in practices. So I’m more inclined to love those more at this point because nothing on the floor that I’m gonna learn for me individually.”
What James is saying makes a lot of sense as in practice you can stop, identify and correct bad habits right on the spot, whereas in games, you likely won’t find out about your mistakes until watching film the following day.
The Lakers still have a long way to go to be ready for Opening Night though, so hopefully they can have some good practices over the next week to improve as a unit.
James on what Lakers are looking to accomplish before Opening Night
While James isn’t concerned about the results of preseason games, he does want to the Lakers to accomplish some things as a team.
“Just continue to build chemistry, continue to work on habits, continue to try to implement the new guys, new system and everything,” James said. “So we’ve played some good ball at times and not-so-good ball at times and that’s obviously not a surprise to anyone. So we got another one on Sunday then Tuesday and Thursday, and just want to continue with our habits.”
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