Lebron James knew there would be some bumps and missteps before he brought the Lakers another NBA title. Los Angeles is a young and inexperienced team, not a collection of groomed veterans like the Cavaliers team he left.
But there is apparently a limit to James’ patience with his new teammates, and they are almost there already.
Just seven games into the season, Lebron James is tired of losing. The Lakers are 2-5 after dropping their second in a row, 124-120 in Minnesota.
Los Angeles had 18 turnovers and gave up 20 offensive rebounds to the Timberwolves. Coach Luke Walton said he saw selfish play and lazy passes. James saw something else.
“We can talk about patience,” said Lebron, “but you can’t have reoccurrence of the same things. We can’t keep making the same mistakes every game.”
“If you’re doing the same things over and over again and expecting a (different) result, then that’s insanity.”
Their five losses came with an average margin of just 5.4 points. Simply fixing one or two bad habits could turn the Lakers’ season around.
Certainly, James can see that and it just adds to his frustration. “You don’t want to be around when my patience runs out,” warned James. “I’m serious.”
Hope on the horizon
Los Angeles’ young trio of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball have flashed potential, but James is expecting more from them.
For one thing, they need to start playing defense. The Lakers give up 122.3 points per game, second-worst in the NBA.
Los Angeles’ inability to make key stops is one of the things aggravating James.
For his part, James is all over the court for his teammates. He is averaging 27.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, all team highs. He is playing the third most minutes per game in the league.
“We’re all in this together,” offered James. “It’s not one guy. We all have to figure this out.”
Walton escaped any mention in James’ post-game edict, but when owners hear their team is not changing bad habits or improving, it can only add to the constant speculation on the job security of any Los Angeles coach.
Los Angeles faces the 2-5 Dallas Mavericks Thursday. Dallas is only 21st in the league in rebounding despite having a formidable big man in DeAndre Jordan. If the Lakers can contain Jordan, this might be a time to show they can outrebound somebody.
Playing in front of their home fans should help the Lakers, too.
Weekend games against the 5-2 Trailblazers and 7-1 Toronto Raptors will provide more of a test for Luke Walton’s crew.