After the Los Angeles Lakers gave up 38 points in the first quarter of their 122-11 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, head coach Luke Walton didn’t hold back in his evaluation of the current state of his team.
"I think teams feel like when they play us right now that we’re kind of a soft team…that they can come in & get their numbers in," Walton told the media following the defeat (as transcribed by Serena Winters of Lakers Nation). “It’s got to be up to us to change that... I think they are learning how to get there, we’re just not there yet.
If that sounds like a familiar comment about the team, congratulations on following the Lakers last year and still coming back again. Calling the Lakers “soft” and saying the team needed to “man up” were two standbys of Scott postgame press conferences, and with the team currently on an eight-game losing streak it’s not incredibly surprising to see Walton question his team’s mental fortitude as well.
The main difference is Walton uses the terms “we” and “us” while offering possible basketball reasons for it other than his roster’s manhood, rather than just straight up blaming his players, and it’s also a matter of degrees here.
Are the Lakers’ struggles solely due to being soft? Probably not, but their lack of intensity to start halves (weirdly almost always first or third quarters) certainly hasn’t helped the team. As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising if other teams thought the Lakers were soft.