With offseason acquisitions like future Hall-of-Famers Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, All-World shooting guard Kobe Bryant still at the top of his game, and additions like Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison coming off the bench, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like they didn’t even need to take the court to start designing their NBA championship rings.
But then they had to go out and play basketball. Turns out that putting the ball in the basket has been harder than everyone thought.
The Lakers went through the entire preseason without winning a game, finishing a shocking 0-8. The team isn’t prepared to panic just yet, but they would have enjoyed a couple of winds.
“Once we get it and everybody understands and trusts it, we’ll be fine,” Howard told ESPN Los Angeles. “I keep telling the guys, ‘This is a process. We’re not going to get this overnight. We’re playing for June. We have to remember that.’”
As teams discover every year in every sport, team chemistry and learning to play together can be much more important than individual talent. Just as the NBA champion Miami Heat, who struggled to gel when the Big Three were added to Dwyane Wade’s team.
“I would have loved to get one, at least one, but there’s nothing we can do now,” Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. “The worst thing about it, honestly, is that my preseason record with the Lakers is 0-10. Hopefully, next year I’ll get a win.”
Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, who Brown replaced, didn’t care at all about preseason wins—and it showed. He used to get teased by his assistant coaches that he had the worst preseason record of any coach in the league. But Jackson also had more championships than any coach in the league, so he could just laugh it off.
Scoring has been the Lakers most difficult problem in the preseason. Granted, Kobe Bryant and Howard, their top two players, only played together once, with Howard playing a total of just two games. The team has instituted the Princeton offense and it’s taking a minute to figure it out.
“I think we’re going to improve in the offense the entire season,” Nash said. “But, hopefully there will be a time in the next month where we can get to a comfortable state and exploit the offense and do a lot of good things out of it.
“We covered a lot of ground, although it didn’t show on the scoresheets. We learned a lot, we’ve come together. We’ve put in a tremendous amount
“You look at some of the other teams that have the same players and run the same stuff. For them, they’re miles ahead of us at this stage. But, we’ve got to think big picture and long term. Hopefully this will allow us to be really good down the line, even though we’re struggling now.”