The Los Angeles Lakers are far from a finished product on either side of the ball, and just three games into the preseason after an abbreviated training camp, they shouldn’t be expected to be.
Head coach Luke Walton certainly doesn’t sound like he presumed his team would be hitting their stride right away, especially offensively. Walton has spent most of training camp focused on defense, and says he’s only slowly throwing new offensive concepts at the team rather than expecting them to all pick up the entire playbook all at once on the fly.
”We want to put in a lot more, but we’re going to continue to take it slow. As we start doing things to a certain level, then we’ll expand, but there’s no way to put a timetable on that because every team is different,” Walton said.
The Lakers were completely overhauled over the summer, and adjusting to LeBron James’ orbit was always going to take time. The team also hasn’t had Lonzo Ball in the lineup at all this preseason — even if that looks set to change Wednesday — and with all of those moving parts, it makes sense that Walton is preaching (and practicing) patience.
Still, Walton is optimistic about how quickly the team can learn everything he wants them too offensively.
“With the way our guys have been practicing and the way they’re getting after it, it’s gonna continue to speed up the process of what we need to do, but there’s a lot of work we still have left to get done,” Walton said.
With several players getting adjusted to new positions as well as new teammates, the Lakers were never going to hit full-steam offensively right off of the bat anyway. As long as the team keeps improving, then there is no reason to panic even if things don’t look incredibly fluid just yet while the Lakers sit scoring at a rate that would equal 97.1 points per 100 possessions, the sixth-worst rate in the league during the preseason.
Some of that is skewed by non-LeBron groups playing big chunks of minutes, but it’s also indicative of the Lakers not all being on the same page just yet. Until that happens, it sounds like Walton isn’t going to rush to ask them to turn to the next one.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.