- Despite the lackluster start, LeBron James and the Lakers have been fascinating to watch. The Open Floor podcast offers their first takeaways on Los Angeles and its interesting dynamic.
The LeBron era in Los Angeles is off to a disappointing start. The Lakers have started the season 0-3 and have shown their frustration already with officiating and with their hands. While no one said it would be easy for LeBron to gel with his new co-stars, they are already proving to be the strangest show in the NBA.
The Open Floor podcast offers their first takeaways on the Lakers and more.
(Listen to the latest Open Floor podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Andrew Sharp: You’ve been at every Lakers game so far. What are your takeaways from what we’ve seen so far?
Ben Golliver: My first takeaway is that, everybody that got exhausted by the LeBron experience in Cleveland, I get it now. Three games in, Andrew, it feels like 30 games in. The opening night game against Portland where they have that dunk—dunk—dunk sequence is like ‘oh my goodness this is the greatest thing to ever happen to basketball’ but then they dropped that one. Then they get into an ultimate fractious with Houston that gets very personal on and off the court between some of the NBA’s biggest stars. Then they comeback and play this crazy overtime game, where at the end of regulation they go on an 8-0 run in 64 seconds, only to follow that up by giving up a 7-0 run in overtime in the final 51 seconds.
They are exhausting but they are incredibly entertaining. You cannot take your eyes off of them. There’s this running thing with people saying ‘oh sportswriters these days! When they go to the game, they are just staring at their laptops watching Twitter the whole time,” but with the Lakers, you don’t do that. With the Lakers, your eyes are glued and you are not blinking. You need to get some Visine because your eyes are drying out after two hours of staring at them intensely and you don’t want to miss out because something in an instant could happen.
Sharp: I am glad you mentioned that. We have gotten people who have complained over the last few months about talking about the Lakers too much and I understand maybe where they are coming from, but at the same time, this team is just fascinating. It’s not even because it’s L.A. It’s not even because it’s LeBron. It’s just the dynamic out there.
Golliver: That adds to it though. Doesn’t it add to it when the Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer is getting tossed out the game because he flipped the Rockets? It does add a layer to it. It’s definitely not the main part. The main part is LeBron struggling with this crazy cast of teammates. Lance Stephenson is throwing away some of the worst turnovers you are ever going to see. Lonzo has incredible flashes of like ‘wow he could really be the guy that everybody hopes for’ and then he has this crazy defensive lapse on the Patty Mills shot. Brandon Ingram looks like he could be the No. 2 guy then the next thing you know, he is just throwing haymakers and he is going to be out for two weeks. This is what I mean when I say it is going to be exhausting. There is just so much going on. The big takeaway for me when we are talking expectations, is what are the odds that they could stabilize this thing well enough to really make a postseason impact?
Sharp: I hear you on every front. It does look exhausting. I loved watching Lakers-Spurs. My two favorite things coming out of that game: As soon as LeBron James missed those two free throws—our friend Sam Esfandiari—internal LeBron troll—immediately shared a video of Kobe hitting two free throws on a torn Achilles, which was perfect.
Then I also just loved imagining you surrounded by despondent Lakers fans beaming with pride after a valiant game-winner from Patty Mills. In general, all of this looks like a mess. But I do appreciate the Lakers though because I think we would be having a different conversation had the Lakers from the first quarter of that Spurs game had been that Lakers the whole game. They were just getting run off the floor by San Antonio and I don’t even know what the margin was at the end of the first but I am sure the Spurs had 40 points in the first quarter and it was ridiculous. But then like you said, L.A. will have these stretches where they do click and they look basically un-guardable on offense. You see why people were so excited about this team and that’s what makes them so interesting.