LeBron James Warns Lakers Can’t Waste Single Day As They Come Together As Team
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers collected just one preseason win this year. The Opening Night matchup with the Golden State Warriors comes next for LeBron James and Co. who still look like a work in progress.

Darvin Ham used several different lineups during the six-game preseason, trying to figure out the most efficient configurations ahead of his official debut as Lakers head coach. Also, L.A. struggled with a few minor injuries, forcing Ham to tinker with the roster even further.

In the end, the Lakers showed they will have a much better defense in 2022-23, but their offense will likely continue to gel in the first weeks of the season. James himself said the Purple and Gold still have a lot of work to do when asked about what he learned from the truncated preseason, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I think the way we wanted to implement the new system, what Coach Ham and the coaching staff want us to [do], you know, how we want to approach the game both offensively and defensively. Obviously, we’ve mixed and matched with a lot of lineups and things of that nature. But the way we want to play, no matter who’s on the floor, that’s what you take from it. I thought, from the preseason, we had some great moments, we had some good moments, we had some not-so-good moments. But we’re a team that’s going to continue to learn each other. And every day, we have to stack days, we have to get better every day either in practice, while we’re on the floor, or if it’s film sessions, or whatever the case may be. You know, move forward. But it begins now, the season is here so we got to get better.”

Pressed on the takeaways from the two-week lead-up to Opening Night, James said he likes the team with which the Lakers will begin the 2022-23 season. However, he pointed out that many of L.A.’s rivals will benefit from roster continuity in the upcoming campaign, adding every day will count for the Purple and Gold as they work on developing on-court chemistry:

“I always come in optimistic about every season, no matter the team that I’ve played for throughout my career. I’ve always been high energy, high level, high optimism coming into the season. I like the way our team is constructed. But we have to continue to work, you know, because a lot of the Western Conference teams, a lot of NBA teams, right now — they’ve been together for a couple years or a few years, and we haven’t. We can’t have an opportunity to not get better on a day-to-day basis. And we have to always understand how important each day is. You look at the top teams in the West, you got the Clippers, and Phoenix, you got Denver, just to name a few of the teams that’s going to come on and be ready to go right from the jump because of the chemistry they’ve had for quite a while now. We’re one of the teams that have to continue to learn on the fly and not waste a day.”

Ham ended the preseason by conducting a bold experiment, using Russell Westbrook off the bench. And James thinks the move shows the flexibility of the Lakers’ 2022-23 roster, which they will be able to capitalize on once the team gels.

Ham share thoughts on Lakers’ preseason

After the 133-86 loss to the Kings capped off the Lakers’ preseason, Ham agreed that L.A. is yet to become whole as a team. However, the head coach added he likes the improvement from the Purple and Gold over the course of the last two weeks.

Ham also pointed out the Lakers will be even better equipped to win games after all their players return from the minor issues that popped up during the preseason.

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