The Los Angeles Lakers took a bad start to the season, which many predicted considering a re-made list facing challenges from opponents in the playoffs. But the increase in defense caused a turnaround and the team is now 11-9 on Thursday.
The Lakers head coach, Luke Walton, evaluated the team with a 10-match increase and was pleased with how his group had grown from a rough start. Although, Walton noted that while the Lakers defense increased, their speed and violations had suffered, and the next was finding balance.
Through 20 matches this season, below is to see what's clear with the Lakers list and what's left of the question mark.
LeBron is still LeBron
Sixteen years in, and LeBron James still has it. James leads the team in points (27.6), rebounds (7.9), assists (6.7), and steals (1.4). He shot more than 37 percent of the three, not to mention exploding for a record-setting night.
Aggressive ball is the best ball
Ask one of his teammates or coaches about Lonzo Ball, and they will tell you how much it can affect the game … As long as he is aggressive. In the second year, the ball had gathered and showed signs of increasing self-confidence.
He shot from three with fewer doubts and 35 percent accuracy. His growing statement, which includes more drives to the basket, will be the key to keeping the Lakers from attacking at full speed.
JaVale McGee is an impact player
How does Javale McGee look like the first big man for the Lakers after two seasons where he averaged nine minutes per game? Twenty matches at McGee averaged 24 minutes, 12.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks (!!) per game.
McGee has made himself a bona fide presence to lower the Lakers low.
The team can pay more attention to basketball
The Lakers turnaround problem has increased with Rajon Rondo out for the past two weeks. In an effort to maintain speed, passing becomes rushed, careless, and sometimes too ambitious.
Coughing up the ball does not only mean losing opportunities due to violations, but also easy for opponents. On average, the team has scored 18.5 points from the Lakers turnover. They are currently ranked 21st in turnovers per game and only have two matches with one turnovers.
Printing is not a problem
The Lakers have found a way to produce violations. They have spent the first 20 matches in the top 10 of the league in points per game. The problem is, not allowing their opponents to score more.
LeBronZo can function
The low playing style has shown the ability to coexist with James. Two high IQ playmakers have coordinated many important moments that should be highlighted. In the formation of five players who have played more than 20 minutes together, both with the highest offensive rating feature both James and Ball.
Rajon Rondo is not toxic
Rondo has some reputation baggage when he comes to his locker room. But a quarter of the way through the season in Los Angeles and the biggest drama he is holding is in terms of the fight with Chris Paul. There is nothing internal.
If you watch Rondo while playing games, whether it's huddled or on the floor, he constantly talks and trains his colleagues. Even with a broken hand, veteran point guards were on the pitch in practice. The Lakers worked with his team.
The West is Wild
Very crazy here! Right around a quarter, the Clippers sit in the Western Region and the Houston Rockets are 14th. It's crowded in the middle of the standings and the Lakers are currently seventh. Every match is important, and we like it.
The front office of the Lakers will take action
Johnson Johnson's November initial meeting with Luke Walton for the acquisition of Tyson Chandler, there is evidence that this front office wants to win, and win now. If the Lakers continue to float around 500 to December, it's not surprising to see this list change in February.
As for what we still don't know about the Lakers …
How patient is LeBron James?
The 11-9 record was the worst start James experienced in a season since 2007. Remember what he watched on October 29, "You don't want to be near me when I lose my temper."? After losing it in Minnesota and early 2-5, the Lakers won nine of the next 11 matches.
But after two ugly losses (at the Orlando Magic home and the explosion in Denver) the Lakers have returned to inconsistencies in defense and turnaround issues. How will momentum swing throughout December and how patient is the King?
Who is the second person on the team?
There have been five matches so far where James did not lead the team in the assessment: Kyle Kuzma (3), Brandon Ingram (1), Lance Stephenson (1). The second two top scorers on the team are Kuzma (16.7 points per game) and Ingram (15.7).
Not to mention, we haven't seen Laker other than LeBron near the clutch.
Can Brandon Ingram grow with LeBron?
It was frustrating because Ingram was deeply moved as a youngster who benefited most from playing with James. Unfortunately, statistics say otherwise. James and Ingram have played 417 minutes together. According to ESPN, when James was in court, Ingram scored 15.1 points per 36 minutes at 44.1 percent of shots.
When James was inactive, the numbers jumped to 29.5 on 56 percent of the field. The problem of developing Ingram in more than one way. Is the whole choice No. 2 will generally succeed together with the King? If not, will it develop enough to become a significant part of the trade to transport other superstars?
Is anyone safe from being moved (other than James)?
The date to remember: December 15 is when the front office can officially trade people who change teams as free agents this summer. Also, February 7 is the trade deadline.
The Lakers president's aggressive maneuvers from Magic Johnson basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka in the past showed this list of names might not look the same coming February 8.
Will speed last?
The Lakers are currently second in the league in fastbreak points per game, and they are in the top five in speed (103.93). The squad wants to play fast, but what's the reality with the older James in the mix who is adept at breaking the half court?
Will this track team maintain its speed or will the very fast speed come out when the season suddenly disappears?
Can that quick step complete a strong defense?
Because the Lakers want to lock in their defenses, will that affect how they want to play at the other end of the court? Could a great defensive ranking accompany high flight violations?
Is the headband here to stay?
Please? Enter the hand praying emoji.
Is the misery of throwing free contagious?
This team has struggled in the charity line through the first 20 matches. The Lakers are in fifth position on free throws (71.5) and in free throws made per game (16.2). Not to mention, in the overall league landscape, this team doesn't make a lot of things on the front lines.
The Lakers rank 25 in the percentage of all points scored free throws (14.3 percent).
Can the Lakers get more consistent production from their bench?
Early delays, Rondo's injury, and new listings have not created ideal opportunities for a consistent lineup to develop chemistry. This is the start, but the Lakers bench is under 10 points per game (33.7), so what can Tinker do to maximize production when James is not in court?
Where is LaVar Ball?