The Westfield Voice

The Student News Site of Westfield State University

The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

No Showtime Here…Yet

Thirteen games into the NBA season and the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting in 10th place, one game over .500 at 7-6. Just as expected right? Well to some, maybe. So I know what you’re thinking: it’s way too early in the season to be questioning this team. I think otherwise, as this team has real flaws that must be fixed in order for this to not be a waste of a season.

Let’s start with the roster. Two pass first style point guards in Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo. They both struggle shooting the ball ,especially from beyond the three point arc. That is no secret and today’s league is overflowing with point guards that can, and do score the ball whenever they please.

Next are the shooting guards. Lance Stephenson, Josh Hart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Brandon Ingram (sort of). Stephenson is a wildcard, as he’ll show up one night and disappear the next, something he’s been doing his whole career. Caldwell-Pope isn’t someone who is bringing a whole lot to the table on a nightly basis either, averaging a meek 5.5 points-per-game this season.

The last two guards are Hart and Ingram. These are two players that should that should be a major bright spot for this team. The numbers will say that Ingram is off to solid start, but the eye test would say differently. A lot of nights he looks lost on the floor, and despite a rather high three point percentage he doesn’t shoot the 3-ball particularly well or often. He has inflated numbers due to his low amount of shots taken and the fact that he has already missed four games due to a suspension. This is his third year in the league now and this is around the point where players tend to start to break out, but he must do more to really prove he’s transforming as a player. Hart, for Lakers fans has been one of the better players thus far. He can shoot the ball and has seemed to fit into this team without any real problems.

Small forward is by far the team’s strongest position and has the least amount of question marks surrounding it. It usually helps when that guy LeBron James is filling up that position. Kyle Kuzma, a second year small forward out of the University of Utah burst onto the scene last season and has only got better and better. The sky’s the limit for this young stud, and he is the best player behind Lebron on this team.

This Lakers team plays position less basketball, so power-forward is a position that isn’t getting too much hype this year. Many different players will be in and out of that role night to night but there isn’t a true power-forward starting most nights.

Lastly is the center position and is where JaVale McGee comes into play. He has surprisingly been very efficient and a crucial piece to this teams success so far this year. The question with McGee is just how long he can keep this up. Can he stay as focused as he was last year when he was with the Golden State Warriors? Also, recently added Tyson Chandler has the chance to make an impact off of the bench but won’t be somebody who is filling up the stat sheet every night.

The Lakers have fairly high expectations this year, as they should. They have the best player on the planet, a young core with limitless potential, and they are the Lakers meaning they are expected to win.

However, expectations don’t always blossom into results. This team does have holes in the boat and they have to be plugged or this ship will sink rather quickly in this tenacious Western Conference. 

There are more flaws to this team than just a lack of talent at some positions. There are personality issues that could cut deeper. Ingram and Rondo have already got suspended due to a fight that broke out against the Houston Rockets earlier this year. Then there are players like Stephenson, McGee, and Michael Beasley who all have been questioned and criticized at one point or another for how much they really want to win and how serious they take the game on a nightly basis.

Then there is LeBron. He’s entering his 16th season and has miles upon basketball miles logged into his legs. He is obviously the leader of this team, but he needs help from the young core. LeBron will put his teammates in the position to excel, given he will find the open players on the court with his elite court vision. Players must knock down shots when he gets them the ball, and they have to make the right plays. Clearly playing with him is a blessing, but it comes with an extreme amount of added pressure. Playing below his expectations is simply not an option. With so many young players trying to fill huge roles it would not be surprising at all seeing some of them crack under the pressure of playing alongside The King.

In the end, LeBron and the Lakers will probably have me eating my words, but as of now there hasn’t been too much to be thrilled about if you are a Lakers fan.

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