The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a tough start in the 2022-23 season after the Golden State Warriors exposed L.A.’s awkward roster structure in a 123-109 loss on Opening Night.
The Lakers managed to keep the game close in the first quarter thanks to a very encouraging defensive performance. However, the Purple and Gold’s defense couldn’t make up for their glaring lack of shooting and they would trail by as many as 27 points over the next three quarters.
The loss has reignited the debate on whether the Lakers should part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to trade Russell Westbrook for a couple of proven shooters. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported of NBA Countdown on Wednesday night that Rob Pelinka is likely to wait at least until Thanksgiving before making any significant roster moves:
“I’m told to expect Rob Pelinka and the Lakers to wait until post-Thanksgiving, 20 games into the season, and see what teams might start pivoting who don’t start off well, who may decide that they may start to unload players and get involved in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. To get down in the lottery instead of what we’ve seen in previous years where teams were chasing the Play-In Tournament and see then using that 2027, that 2029 pick and of course Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract to see what’s gonna be out there on the market place. And as more teams become sellers, there were so many buyers the last couple years, the expectation is there will be more sellers this year you start to see the asking price in trades go down. It’s supply and demand. So expect the Lakers to really get to that 20-game point where teams kind of reach an inflection point of how they want to proceed and then see what might really be available to help improve this Lakers team.”
After starting the 2022-23 season off a loss, the Lakers will face some of the most dangerous Western Conference teams over the next six games. L.A. will host the L.A. Clippers — widely considered the season’s top title favorite — on Thursday before playing the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New Orleans Pelicans.
On Lakers Media Day, Pelinka explained that they understand they only have one opportunity to get a trade right given their lack of draft assets, and it seems that they feel holding off for now will give them more options around the league and in turn, lowering the pricetag.
James candid about Lakers’ lack of shooting
After the tough Opening Night loss, LeBron James discussed the Lakers’ shooting woes with candor, saying L.A. simply doesn’t have a lot of players who can pose a threat from downtown.
“I think we’re getting great looks and I think there also could be teams giving us great looks. I mean, to be completely honest, we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting and that’s just what the truth of the matter is,” he said.
“It’s not like we’re sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team, but that doesn’t deter us from still trying to get great shots and when you get those opportunities you take them. But we’re not sitting here with a bunch of 40-plus [percent] career three-point shooting guys.”
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