The Los Angeles Lakers have been an extremely inconsistent team throughout this season. Part of this can be attributed to youth as many of these players don’t realize what it takes to win every night in the NBA, but there are other issues at play as well.
One of those things is trust, or rather a lack of it. When things have gotten tough for the Lakers in games they have tended to go away from the team game that head coach Luke Walton wants them to play, and instead try to do things as individuals.
After a tough practice on Thursday, Larry Nance Jr. spoke about the Lakers trusting each other and noted that, at the very least, they don’t do it every night via Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:
“I don’t,” Nance said. “I don’t think we do.”
Then he gave the thought another second and amended it.
“I think we do sometimes,” Nance said. “We trusted each other in New York [in a 121-107 win over the Knicks]. The ball was moving freely, there was open spacing. You knew if you gave it up, you’d get it back. We knew, ‘If I close out, my man beats me, the next guy’s gonna rotate defensively.’ Some games, we don’t do that. Last game we didn’t do it.”
This is one of the things that comes with time and playing with each other for years. Coming into the season, none of the Lakers had played with each other for more than one year and minutes were tough to come by for some of them last season.
Expecting them to have the trust that a team like the Golden State Warriors have would be unfair. Nonetheless, the Lakers will have to figure it out quickly if they want to turn things around this season.
When they play as a team they have some great performances like the Knicks game that Nance spoke of, but when they falter they have had some truly baffling performances. Trusting and believing in each other would really help the Lakers take the next step.