- Eric Martinez
All business and reflection for Los Angeles Lakers media day 2022
New head coach Darvin Ham and President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka stood to the side having a conversation with the same serious look in their eyes as the conversation unraveled, there were also moments of laughter and what looked like agreement. The atmosphere was a combination of excitement for the 2022-2023 season mixed with a surprising uncertainty. Uncertain about what the new Los Angeles Lakers roster look like, as only 5 players returned from the 2021-2022 team, and also uncertain about the health factor. Anthony Davis arrived to media day in shape and ready to get started.
Over the past two seasons, LeBron James has played in only 101 games. Anthony Davis has played in fewer at just 76 games. In all actuality, if these two stars do remain healthy, there is a very low chance of contention from the Los Angeles Lakers. When asked about AD and LeBron’s minutes being managed during the regular season, head coach Darvin Ham answered, “I don’t need LeBron or AD playing playoff minutes in October, November, or even December.” Coach Ham understands the key to the health issue may be just that, managing the amount of time on the floor for both AD and LeBron.
Newly acquired guard Patrick Beverly brought a smile to media day that was very noticeable. He jokingly photo-bombed several Los Angeles Lakers photos including new Laker Lonnie Walker IV, Kendrick Nunn, and even last year’s rookie sensation Austin Reaves. It was almost like a playful introduction to Pat Bev’s personality. The room seemed to enjoy the energy that Beverly brought. It is worth noting that the Lakers front office and head coach chose not to comment on the rumors of the two first round draft picks and trade rumors that are circulating. As of now, the Lakers feel like this is the roster heading into the season but are currently listening what other teams are willing to offer.
There were several questions directed at Russell Westbrook about all of the speculation, and when asked if he felt connected to the Lakers, Westbrook replied, “AD, LeBron and I feel like we have a chip on our shoulders. That’s what the new shirts mean. “Westbrook is referring to the shirts with the word “Chip” on them that several Lakers wore to Training Camp. Russell added, “As a professional and as a working man I have to do my job and do it the best way I know how to be able to support and take care of my family and contribute to the culture. That’s exactly what I’ll do.” With the full support of coach Darvin Ham, Westbrook looks to contribute to this team however they seem fit to get the best out of him. He will be a key player to the success of the players complimenting LeBron and AD.
LeBron entered media day 2022-2023 wearing the number 6 for the second year in a row for the Lakers. LeBron’s tune seemed to be more matter of fact when speaking to the media. Encouraging words and health were a constant point of emphasis for King James. He believes he will focus his game on being available this coming season. James reiterated, “I’m here to work, I’m here to punch my clock in and be available to my teammates.” If LeBron remains healthy, the rest of the cast can help elevate the Lakers into the postseason and the question will be how far this team will really go.
The 2021-2022 season is in the rear-view mirror now. The players that remain on the roster remember how it all developed ruined by injuries and disappointment. The key to the 2022-2023 Los Angeles Lakers success will be determined on what characteristics this team develops defensively and how efficient they are scoring and limiting turnovers.