The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a disappointing road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, dropping their record to 8-11 on the season. Despite the loss, Luke Walton’s team looks much improved from a year ago.
The Lakers have made a major leap on defense, ranking in the top-5 in defensive rating. Additionally, young players such as Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are looking like potential cornerstones for the franchise, and Lonzo Ball has shown flashes of meeting the high expectations that have been placed on his shoulders.
The trio had stretches where they played well against the Kings, but the Lakers’ defense somewhat surprisingly is what ultimately let the team down.
After the loss, Walton noted the difficulty with winning a road game, and added he is still pleased with how the team has played so far this season via Mike Trudell:
Walton said it’s “hard to win on the road” in the NBA, that LAL battled but didn’t execute against a lively Kings effort. Overall, said he’s pleased w/his young team through 19 games (8-11).
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 23, 2017
At their current rate, the Lakers are on pace for around 35 wins, which would be a nice increase from the 26 they won last year. Things are obviously far from perfect, but this team is making positive strides and is clearly headed in the right direction.
The offensive struggles have been ongoing for the Lakers, in large part because they lack consistent shooters. They have also had a major issue with taking care of the ball, ranking near the bottom of the league.
That being said, the heart and effort of this team has been excellent thus far. On numerous occasions the Lakers have fought back from double-digit deficits to either win, or make games close down the stretch.
They are also far more focused defensively, with even Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson making more plays on that end than they have in the past.
The Lakers have a very tough stretch in the schedule coming up, so all of their improvements will be tested. If they can get through on the other side intact, it could go a long way towards taking another step forward in their development.
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