The Los Angeles Lakers’ blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night led to plenty of reflection and self-criticism by the team. Lakers head coach Luke Walton said it looked like his team “gave up” because they didn’t feel like they had a chance against the more talented Spurs squad. D’Angelo Russell put the onus on himself, saying that the Lakers’ struggles started with him.
It’s easy for a team to get down on itself after two big losses in a row followed a promising 10-game stretch during which the Lakers won four of their 10 contests, but it’s important to remember that this is a very young roster, and that youth doesn’t win in the NBA. At 15-28, the Lakers are still far ahead of the 24 to 25 win pace many had them at entering the season.
After the team’s practice on Friday morning, veteran guard Lou Williams acknowledged that a rebuilding roster can’t be expected to win every night:
Lou Williams does a good job sifting through what should be reasonably expected even for a young team pic.twitter.com/1p9JfdLDba— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 13, 2017
The Lakers didn’t match the Spurs competitively, or from a talent perspective, which means that Williams is probably correct to note that even if Los Angeles had been firing on all cylinders they probably still would have gotten waxed by a San Antonio team that was simply on fire all night.
As fun as the Lakers’ 10-10 start was, they were totally healthy and probably catching teams off guard over that stretch. The rest of the NBA has adjusted, and it’s important to keep in perspective not just that the Lakers are going to take some tough losses sometimes like Williams notes, but also how big of a change it is from last season that all of these teams know they have to come ready to play if they want to beat the upstart Lakers.