The Los Angeles Lakers lost their first game of the LeBron James era, but according to James himself, this team shouldn’t have been expected to start clicking right away anyway.
After the defeat, James told reporters on Spectrum Sportsnet that he knows it’s going to take time for all of the Lakers to get on the same page:
”It’s going to take patience from our team, from all of us just to figure out one another. Figure out what we’re good at, figure out what we’re not so good at and how we can be better at it.
It’s way too early to draw definitive conclusions about what the Lakers are and aren’t good at — which is probably part of James’ point — but based on last night’s game, the team didn’t seem to be totally on the same page defensively, or boast a ton of 3-point shooting.
The latter issue may improve in the friendly confines of Staples Center, and the former one is just going to take longer than one game. While James wasn’t specifically speaking about the defense when he said it, one of his other comments to reporters made it clear that he understands that everything was never going to come together for Los Angeles right away:
”I always kind of compare it to instant oatmeal, it’s not that fast. It takes a while for chemistry to get to where you can close your eyes and know exactly where your guys are. That’s what we’re going to work towards.”
When he says always, he’s not kidding. This is far from the first time James has made such an analogy:
He said it about the Sixers rebuild and the Cavs in 2016. pic.twitter.com/rmuIsNEsHZ— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKaz) October 19, 2018
James’ fellow veteran, Lakers starting point guard Rajon Rondo, was in agreement that the Lakers aren’t going to be microwaved to readiness, which will mean everyone will have to remain calm while the team gets on the same page, as he told Marc Spears of the Undefeated:
“We got to be patient like teachers are,” Rondo told The Undefeated. “Every student learns differently. Everyone is on their own pace. We have to learn guys’ strengths and weaknesses and we have to play to it.”
And while the Lakers not gelling immediately was cause for panic and overreactions by some, James knows that the team still has plenty of time to figure out their issues:
”It’s still early, we’re literally less than a month in ... We’ve got to go through some things, go through some adversity, see how guys react to it, and what gets guys going.”
The Lakers will almost assuredly encounter plenty of more trying times than a road loss in their season-opener this year, and as James notes, things have barely started. As long as the Lakers learn to play together effectively by the time the postseason draws closer, no one is going to be complaining about any early season communication and cohesion issues.
All quotes transcribed via Spectrum Sportsnet. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.