The Lakers haven’t been bad to start this season (8-6), but they haven’t played up to expectations, either.
Injuries have played a part in that. Only four players have appeared in each of the team’s first 14 games. Rui Hachimura has been sidelined for four of them. Gabe Vincent’s absences are at 10 and counting. Jarred Vanderbilt has yet to make his season debut.
On the court, a number of Lakers have fallen short of expectations, too. They were banking on a leap year from Austin Reaves, but it hasn’t materialized yet. Anthony Davis still doesn’t always show the assertiveness this group needs from him on the offensive end. Vincent couldn’t hit anything when he played. Christian Wood and Taurean Prince have been ice cold. Max Christie has failed to capitalize on the few opportunities he’s been given.
Any—or, fingers crossed, all—of these players could be better, and if they start playing like it, then it shouldn’t be an issue of finding a handful of more rest minutes each night for James. And if the supporting cast can’t pick up the slack, then this front office has enough resources to hit the trade market and find players who can.