Can Lakers trio of stars sustain them?

LOS ANGELES (Compton Bulletin) – Tradition. Loyalty. Star power. This represents what the Los Angeles Lakers are about. Even though the team has started the season on the flip side of a winning season, there is no denying the Lakers have the tradition of a winner.

Their fans flex how devoted they are to the purple and gold, despite the Lakers rambling near the bottom of the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. And we all know what kind of star power the Lakers bring to the table. From Elgin Baylor to Jerry West to Magic Johnson to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James, the Lakers have always held the forte down when it comes to star wattage in the NBA.

Russell Westbrook (0) and Patrick Beverley (2) of the Los Angeles have a good moment. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin

Well-known celebrities typically show up in droves to be seen and to catch a game or two. One of the fascinating things about the Lakers is that it doesn’t matter how well or how poorly the team is doing, they Laker faithful are going to be there. For the time being, the Lakers fans are packing the house at Arena.

In a Western Conference matchup with the Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, the fans were certainly in the house. Why wouldn’t they be? Williamson going up against LeBron is must-see television. And if you can see the aging superstar going toe-to-toe against the next great thing in the NBA in person, even better.

That’s been one of the problems with the Lakers this season. They’ve had great moments of singular play, but not enough sustainability to finish games ahead of the opposition. The evaluation of the Los Angeles Lakers thus far is incomplete. The Lakers have gotten off to a slow start to the 2022-23 NBA season.

After six games, the Lakers were not batting .500 on the young season, going 1-5 after their first six games. They were winless after their first four games, but the season is so young, that by the time the postseason comes calling, the month of October might as well become a footnote to the Lakers’ season.

At the moment, the Lakers have not lived up to their billing of having three of the most talented players in the NBA with LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook representing the purple and gold.

Again, the Lakers play an 82-game season, so there’s plenty of time for head coach Darvin Ham and his ballclub to right the ship. A good test for Ham and his team gets it going is the homestand where the Lakers play the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is not a time for Ham and the Lakers to panic, but they certainly have to play with some urgency or else the run the risk of seeing their season flutter away. One way the Lakers can keep their season moving in the right direction is getting better at shooting from long distance.

The Lakers are last when it comes to shooting the 3-point shot, entering their game against the Pelicans shooting 26 percent from behind the arc. The Lakers were dealing with that issue in the first half against New Orleans as the Pelicans jumped out in front of the home team as the Lakers struggled making their shots.

LeBron James (6) of the Los Angeles Laker contests a shot by Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans (1) on Nov. 2, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin

But with the Pelicans having their own issues putting the basketball in the basket, the Lakers broadsided New Orleans with a scoring run late in the second quarter to jump up to a 56-44 lead before they knew what hit them. The key for the Lakers down this stretch was their interior defense as Davis and LeBron began conducting their own private block party under the basket.

The Lakers kept up that theme all the way until they secured a 120-117 overtime win against the Pelicans. And while they managed to shoot just 27 percent from 3-point range, the Lakers got a semblance of life before the extra period when Matt Ryan dropped a trey at the end of regulation to send the contest into overtime.

The Lakers wound up chalking up their second victory of the season. However, while the Lakers showed promise to their fans what things can be like when they get it going offensively and defensively against an inferior opponent (despite what the records may say), the issue of concern for Los Angeles is what do they have to offer beyond their cog of LeBron, Davis and Westbrook?

Sure, they have a quality defender in Patrick Beverley, and they have a nice young player in Lonnie Walker IV, but outside of that who else will step up and carry the load when Ham needs someone to? The Lakers are solely dependent on LeBron, Davis and Westbrook doing their thing.

Without question, the trio of LeBron, Davis and Westbrook can more than carry the load against a team like New Orleans. But how will that work out against top squads like Boston, Brooklyn, Phoenix. Golden State or Milwaukee where team depth goes a long way? The Lakers answered that question against New Orleans with six players, led by Walker’s 28 points, scoring in double figures.

Featured Image Caption: LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers swoops to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 2, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Compton Bulletin