Skip to main content

We're only two games into the new year, but things have not gone well for the Los Angeles Lakers. 

 They've already been riddled with injuries, as the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington, and Trevor Ariza have yet to see the floor while they heal from their respective ailments. They've also had to deal with a killer opening schedule, as they hosted the upstart Warriors and the hungry Phoenix Suns to kick things off. 

Still, no one is going to feel bad for a team that many believed to be the best in the Western Conference prior to the start of the season. They have the big names, but it's yet to translate onto the court. 

Another cause for concern came on Friday night in their loss to the Suns. After getting out to a decent start, the Lakers imploded in the 2nd and 3rd quarter as Phoenix flat-out outworked them. A game that looked to be a heavyweight fight suddenly turned into a 27 point deficit for LA heading into the fourth quarter, and the speculation began. 

Read More

It would be easy to blame the frustrations on the lack of calls for the Lakers, as there were plenty of questionable plays where no fouls were called. 

"Usually, when you get hit going to the basket, the whistle blows", said Frank Vogel after the game. "It didn't tonight."

Getting a few of those calls to fall might have changed the final score by a few points, but it shouldn't have affected this team to the extent that it did. 

While it would be easy to hit the panic button and count the days until the inevitable demise of this team, there is a much more rationable way of looking at it. This is a team full of veteran players who are used to being successful – used to being 'the guy'. They were never going to figure it all out right away, but that doesn't mean that they didn't expect to. 

When you're used to the kind of ball dominance that many of these new Lakers used to have, it's going to take some time to learn how to play together. It won't always be pretty and there will be plenty of growing pains along the way, but their 38-point  4th quarter on Friday showcased what this team can look like when they come together. 

The Lakers have plenty of work to do before they can call themselves contenders in a deep Western Conference. But they have the talent to make it happen, and there is plenty of basketball still to be played. 

NEXT: Quick Thoughts From the Lakers' loss to the Suns