For a team that had title aspirations coming into the year, this season could barely have started worse for the Lakers. A lot of that is due to the injury bug that has taken a big bite out of the Lakers to open the season.
Another notable part of it, though, is due to generally underwhelming performances from the Lakers. They are off to a historically bad start to the season when it comes to their 3-point shooting as well as their bad first quarters.
As a result of those slow starts, one of the buzzwords surrounding the team this season has been energy. The often lethargic Lakers are falling way behind early in games and then are forced into backs-against-the-wall situations that sometimes they just don’t get up for, as was the case in Wednesday’s game in Houston.
Time and time again, as a result, the team is asked about their energy level postgame. The answers and their words have been good, but the actions have not changed. And thus, the questions have persisted.
On Wednesday, after multiple questions postgame about the team’s energy level, to which LeBron James gave valid answers to, he finally reached his breaking point to end his availability.
“I don’t know, is that like a theme?” LeBron said. “Is, like, the energy word a theme for our ball club right now? Cause like everyone is asking the same question.”
LeBron noted the struggles of building any sort of cohesion with players swapping in and out of the starting lineup and rotation. He also stated that he doesn’t have an assessment on the team right now as a result of that.
In some sense, you can sympathize with LeBron and the Lakers. Having so many changing variables makes it difficult to get anything figured out this season and, ultimately, it’s still just eight games into an 82-game season.
But at the same time, energy level is not something that is predicated on who is and isn’t available. There are a lot of things the Lakers can’t control about their situation, but the level of energy they bring is not one of them.
LeBron, though, is probably not the person who should be answering the questions about energy levels. All things considered with him being in his 21st year and approaching age 40, he’s brought the appropriate level of energy you can expect from him.
It’s his much younger teammates who too often are not coming into games with a level of energy necessary. When fully healthy, they could perhaps get away with not bringing a high energy level because of their talent. But they are far from healthy and that leaves the margin for error incredibly small.
The Lakers can’t afford not to bring it nightly. They’re learning that lesson the hard way repeatedly. And until they do start bringing energy nightly, they’ll keep learning that same lesson.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.