When vying for the best record in the NBA, the utmost priority has to be winning, no matter how those victories might come. Sure, it would be preferable to come out on top worry-free consistently with the team firing on all cylinders at all times, but that just isn’t how sports work.
LeBron James has been a part of some great regular season teams, and is applying some of the lessons he learned during those seasons to this Los Angeles Lakers campaign. He told Bill Oram of The Athletic that the Lakers have to be flexible in their style in order to maintain their current pace:
“We’re just trying to, no matter what, we want to be able to win in any way, shape, or fashion,” James said. “Close games, high-scoring games, low-scoring games, physical games, from the perimeter some games. Sometimes the game is going to (come down to) winning in the paint.”
Frank Vogel recently echoed this sentiment as well, praising his team for its ability to win in a variety of ways.
On top of roster construction, it takes a certain level of commitment to competition to win at the rate the Lakers have to start the year.
Yes, as James and Vogel point out, on any given night the Lakers might run into an incredibly hot team that they have to just outscore, or their own shots might go cold, forcing them to focus on defense more than any other game. But at the end of the day, it’s about relishing in the competition no matter the circumstances, a challenge the Lakers collectively have really seemed to take on.
So the Lakers have combined a really versatile roster with the will to compete no matter how things might be going, or who might be available, and gotten a team that’s jumped out to one of the best starts in franchise history. The key now is to maintain that commitment, even as the NBA schedule wears the team down.