With 63 games in the books, the Los Angeles Lakers have won more games — 49 to be exact — than many people expected. What’s been an even bigger surprise, though, is how quietly they’ve been able to do it.
Generally speaking, having a superstar player like LeBron James can amplify the attention problems within an organization, as we saw all throughout last season. Additionally, being in a win-now situation can cause tension between players, even if the team is winning games — just ask Kevin Love about his first few seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This season, the Lakers haven’t had those problems, and it’s because of the team’s chemistry. In an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Dwight Howard talked about the synergy in the Lakers’ locker room, how it’s contributed to their early success, and why he’s confident it won’t wane as a result of the season’s suspension:
“Just the chemistry we had before this was off the roof,” he said. “And then now, it’s like we have to build that up again. We got to get that engine flowing … But I think with the group of guys that we have, I also think with the hunger that we have to win a championship, once we get back it will be like we never left each other.”
“The way we care for each other, we care for this team, this city and winning the championship,” he added later, when asked what would be captured behind the scenes with this team in spirit of “The Last Dance” documentary.
“Everything is already broadcast, a lot about who we are as people and our character. I just think you’d get a chance to see it more in depth. Just how much we really love being with each other, how much we really enjoy the game, enjoy playing with each other. We’ve all had to come from some difficult situations and things have all happened to us in our personal lives and for us to really sacrifice whatever we’ve had to sacrifice for this team.”
There’s obviously nothing that can replicate team plane rides, or competing with each other, but the Lakers have stayed connected during the quarantine through their famous group chat, and now through workouts. Unless everyone on the team has been really good about hiding their disdain for each other throughout the season, the Lakers’ chemistry should be fine once the season resumes.
The real question is whether or not the Lakers will be able to get back to where they were before the season was suspended from a physical standpoint. For example, Howard has been great all season, but how will his body react to not playing for nearly three months at the age of 34?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough.