With a 16-15 record, the Lakers have had a mediocre start to the season.
Players like Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt were supposed to be key rotation players and the trio have all missed significant time, with Vincent looking to miss more with surgery reportedly on the table.
"I think the league's best teams right, so far, in Minnesota, they're pretty much healthy, OKC is pretty much healthy beside (Josh) Giddey and Boston looks like they're fully healthy," James said. "I don't think we're healthy right now. I don't think we're where we want to be to compete versus the top teams…For us, we're still trying to figure our situation out as far as how we want to continue to attack each game. But we'll get better."
There's a fine line between contextualizing losses and making excuses and right now, James seems to be playing right on that line. Yes, valuable pieces have been out, but James and Anthony Davis have also been relatively healthy. This team was considered very deep at the start of the season, so why hasn't that depth helped them during these moments when players went missing?
Perhaps the depth was overstated, or the value of these three players is being understated. In any event, Hachimura and Vanderbilt are back, so these comments will soon be a thing of the past, barring any future setbacks.
The Lakers may not have gotten off to a hot start, but they also aren't far from the top. They're only two and a half games back from a top-four seed and we still have more games in front of us than behind.
You are what your record says you are and right now, it says the Lakers have work to do.
If James is correct, wins should accumulate in January with virtually everyone available. If the Lakers continue to struggle, a trade will need to be made if they want to join the top teams in the West.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.