After a promising start, the Lakers were finally giving the fans some optimism. However, in what should be a surprise to no-one, the Lakers are showing inexperience.
There is one underlying characteristic that is present in every single sports fanbase: the tendency to get ahead of reality. Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers may have done so earlier in the season. Now, that same optimism and promise around a brand new Lakers team have diminished. For some, these are considered “Dark Times” for the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is not a dark age for the Los Angeles Lakers. This is not a surprising outcome that nobody saw coming. For many reasons, this season has been a win. It has been full of progress, promise and stars in the making that nobody saw coming.
Sure, the Lakers are 8-15. Yes, the team is riding a five-game losing streak and lost to a depleted Nuggets squad. There are concerns about Lonzo Ball and his inability to shoot the basketball at the NBA level. Heck, there even have been concerns around head coach Luke Walton.
All of this coming from a team that won just 26 games last season. Before this season, the Lakers won just 91 games the prior four seasons. Yet all of a sudden, a quick turnaround was expected. Lonzo Ball was supposed to be the saving grace. Brook Lopez was called one of the best centers in the game. Brandon Ingram was supposed to make a superhuman year-two leap.
None of that is true and none of it should have ever been true. Ball is barely a 20-year-old kid. Ball dropped the youngest triple-double in NBA history, followed it with another, and is one of four players to average seven or more points, rebounds and assists per game this season.
Still, his bad transition to be a decent NBA scorer is registering hate around Ball. Understandably so, the hate has seemingly made it worse for the rookie, who may be struggling to cope with it after being praised his entire life. Against the Rockets, Ball played just 22 minutes, scored only two points and did not make a single field goal.
This does not make Lonzo Ball a bad NBA player or a bust. He is young, he is 20 years old. People make the comparisons to what LeBron or Kobe were doing at 20. Lonzo is neither of those guys, they are both top five all-time, so to compare him to them is borderline insanity.
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Lopez is playing good, but he is nowhere near the elite level many fans touted him to be. His rebounding was never great, and despite scoring a decent amount, his efficiency has always been below average for centers. Although he is 29, he has no real playoff experience. He has played only 13 playoff games, failing to get out of the first round.
Ingram has gotten better, but he has not made this insane second-year jump that many were expecting. He has been brilliant, like his 32 point contest against the Warriors, but is still learning how to piece it all together.
Which is exactly what the rest of his teammates are doing. Trying to figure out how to piece it together.
Los Angeles has virtually no experience in winning. Luol Deng is perhaps their only exception and he is wanted out of Los Angeles quicker than the Boston Celtics. The Lakers play in the powerhouse Western Conference against NBA Teams with two, three and even four superstars.
Los Angeles doesn’t have any of that. Aside from Lopez, the Lakers next longest-tenured starter is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This is his fifth NBA season. Ball is a rookie, Ingram is a sophomore, Kyle Kuzma is a rookie.
This team is inexperienced.
And somehow that is a surprise to everyone.