It’s no secret the Lakers have underperformed this season. They are in the same position they were in last year at this time; under .500, struggling to stay in the play-in and looking for a trade that can turn them into contenders.
Trade rumors are at a fever pitch with the deadline less than a week away, but in the meantime, the Lakers are playing tough road games out East.
Against the struggling Hawks, the Lakers looked like an NBA bottom feeder unable to slow down Atlanta and getting blown out. It’s clear that while the offense is serviceable, this team’s defense needs to improve in every conceivable way. The Lakers need to be a defensive-minded team and communicate better defensively so they have less breakdown and minimize the amount of 40-plus point quarters opponents have on them.
“We just have to be better as a collective group,” Austin Reaves said following the loss to the Hawks. “Regardless if we’re one through four switch, one through five switch, we have to be physical and create indecision for them instead of just letting teams play so freely. We all can get better – I personally need to get better – and just strive to be better.”
Accountability and acknowledgment of shortcomings are the first steps toward growth and improvement. However, words ring hollow if action is not taken.
“We have to come together as a group, an organization and figure out exactly what it is that we can do better as a collective group to be better because you see on nights where everything’s clicking, it’s beautiful…and then you have nights where it’s not pretty and it’s not good basketball. We have to convert that to the good and just try to continue to do that every single night. If I had the answers, we already would have fixed it.”
So far, it’s been more bark than bite from this team in terms of making the proper adjustments to lead to winning. Nearly 50 games in and a good team should be fine-tuning the margins and prepping for the post-All-Star Break stretch.
Instead, everything is lackluster and questionable except for the excellence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That’s the situation the 2023-24 Lakers find themselves in and it will take a coalition of the willing to fix it. That means improvement from within the roster, some upgrades via trades and coaching optimizing rosters, rotations, and in-game decisions.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.