Coming into the season, the Lakers were heralded as one of the deepest teams in the NBA. Many wondered how they'd handle the depth chart with so many options.
While having too many serviceable guys is a good problem, even good problems are problems. After falling to the Sacramento Kings 132-127 in an overtime loss on the road, the Lakers are fell to 1-2 and Darvin Ham's rotations have been questioned.
“At the end of the day, my rotation, we got to really dig into that and really figure out and really take a close look so guys are in rhythm,” Ham said after the loss. “We have a great collection of players. I’ve played in this league. When you know when you’re going in and who you’re playing with and all that, that matters. Buckling down on our rotation, I’ll start there. That definitely is the main thing that’s on my mind.”
Why didn't Christain Wood play more? He was sensational against Phoenix in the fourth quarter but only played 14 minutes. He was plus 12 on the night, so it's perplexing that the Lakers went away from something that worked so well the game before.
Is Gabe Vincent playing 32 minutes off the bench wise with him giving you only two points? Yes, his defensive ability is a plus for the team, but he was brought in as a shooter, and he has yet to hit even one three-pointer for the purple and gold. And that's not from a lack of trying as he's 0-11 from deep.
Austin Reaves struggled against the Kings, going 1-12 from the field, but if he is your bonafide starter and is supposed to take a jump in his third season in Los Angeles, shouldn't you trust him to play through it during an overtime game?
It has to be tough balancing winning now and developing the rotations that will lead to success later in the year when your bench shrinks, but that's the task at hand for Ham. He was given plenty of options and has to tinker with them on the fly to optimize the team for success. While we get to see how the rotations buckle down in the upcoming games, Ham stressed he doesn't want players worried about getting pulled after every minor mistake.
"I don't want my team to be one of those teams that tries to play mistake-free,” Ham said. “I love competitive mistakes. But, at the of the day, we have to be able to execute. We have to be able to get stops and hold teams to one possession. If you're defending, if you're competing at a high level, if you're sharing and sacrificing on the offensive end, allowing us to get the type of looks that we're looking for then, sure enough, you'll be out there on the floor.
“Having said that, we had a lot of guys that contributed today. We have a really, really good roster. Again, it takes time. It takes time. It's the third game of the season. We'll look at the film and get better from it."
It's important to note that not only are we still only one week into the season, the Lakers played three of the top teams favored to win the West and two of the three games were on the road.
Good things take time and it shouldn't be a surprise the team isn't dominating the best teams right away. Still, the Lakers have to start racking up wins. They can’t get in a 2-10 hole like last year and expect to make a significant run.
This roster cannot change substantially until mid-December, so Ham has to find a winning formula now. Otherwise, Ham will soon find out doesn't take long for that head coaching chair to get hot in Southern California.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.