At 17-17 and tenth in the West, the Lakers have failed to meet expectations. They are a .500 team and that's with LeBron James and Anthony Davis both being relatively healthy and playing at a high level.
So, how much urgency does the team feel to produce wins as we begin January?
According to Austin Reaves, they have the right amount.
"I would like to think that the urgency, regardless, should be there," Reaves said postgame after the team lost to the Pelicans. "And I feel like it has, for the most part. We just haven't done enough to win. Regardless of what our record is, if we were 24-10 or whatever the case is, we should walk on the court every night with a sense of urgency to win the game and do whatever we need to do to win the game. Going forward, that's what we'll do. Last year, it was tough to dig ourselves out of that hole. We're in a better spot right now than we were last year but we have to change and figure it out."
After 34 games last season, the Lakers were 10-24, so yes, Reaves is correct that this team is in a better position now than they were a year ago.
However, that team was poorly constructed from the beginning and was coming off a 33-49 season. Compare that to this season's team that is coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance and looked like they kept the best parts of that roster and made small upgrades to have a shot at the title.
How much urgency a team has and the appropriate amount is subjective and unquantifiable. James has warned the team to stay competitive during this home stand in January and if the Lakers want to be contenders in the West, they'll need to start racking up wins.
At the end of the day, that's been the biggest issue with this team. They've lost too many games, given the talent on the floor and everyone holds a certain level of responsibility, from the coaches to the players.
Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing.
If L.A. starts winning games, questions of urgency, second-guessing lineups and fans playing general manager will all subside. They'll get their chance to start 2024 on the right foot against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.