The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to begin the NBA season, losing 9 of their first 11 games. Many fans are frustrated with either the usage (or lack thereof) of the team's young players, or the pedestrian per-game numbers put up by the team's two youngest players, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Lakers center Roy Hibbert plead for fans of the purple and gold to have patience with the team's young core in a tweet last week, saying they "are gonna be tough to deal with in this league. Give them a couple years to play 2gether (sic)."
As it turns out, Hibbert's mentoring did not end with a 140 character message that night. According to Mike Bresnahan's latest column for the L.A. Times, discussing Hibbert's role on the team as a veteran leader, Hibbert was inspired by basketball discussions he had with that group that went well into the night:
"I spent a lot of time with those guys after the game. I had a family member in town and we [all] went to dinner," Hibbert later said. "After that, we went back to the room. The rooks came up to my room and we were up until 4 a.m., just watching the Spurs play Portland and talking.
"I learned from them, they learned from me. I see the potential. People just have to be patient."
"I just know with this team and how well they've done, in this city they want success, which is understandable," Hibbert said. "But sometimes you have to nurture talent and you'll reap the benefits of those seeds. Not now, but hopefully later."
Hibbert seems to understand the need to be patient with a young team like the Lakers. Russell and Randle were never going to be superstars from day one, but the two have show positive flashes. Clarkson looks like one of the bigger steals in the history of the second round of the NBA Draft, even if it has not translated to on court results so far. The 2015-16 Lakers "success" cannot be measured in wins and losses. Gradual improvements are what to watch for.