With 25 games left in the NBA regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers are just seven wins away from equaling their win total from last season. However, while they’re a clearly better team, it feels like this season hasn’t been as enjoyable to watch as last season.
Part of that has to do with the expectations that came with LeBron James signing with the Lakers this summer, but it also has a lot to do with drastic change in the team’s chemistry from this season to last season, which can be attributed to the constant trade rumors hovering over the locker room.
Even when they were dropping games left and right, they still looked like they were playing for something and it made them an easy team to root for. They weren’t a very good team, but they were fun to watch.
After the Lakers’ discouraging loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, Kyle Kuzma told Spectrum SportsNet that he and his teammates need to get back to having fun if they want to make a late-season playoff push:
“We’re not in the playoffs right now so there’s definitely going to be a push… I believe that we can still do it. We’ve just got to come together, have fun. The biggest thing is just having fun.”
Kuzma also said that he thinks the locker room is as unified as they’ve been all season despite the awkward situation that the trade deadline created:
”I believe we are. We’ve just had bumps in the road like every other team. We’re a great group of guys, everybody gets along, everybody is cool with each other. We’ve just got to bring that to the court and just have fun. That’s the biggest thing, because a lot of times we’re out there with sad faces or very focused faces, but I think we’re at our best when we’re having fun.”
It’s going to take a lot more than fun for the Lakers to make the playoffs, especially with their upcoming schedule, but maybe a happier and more energized locker room will be the key to getting them to buy in on the defensive end get back to their fast-paced style of play on offense.
Or maybe this means nothing and the Lakers will be back at the NBA Draft Lottery this summer. Whatever the case may be, we’ll find out sooner rather than later.