This is less a preview about the Heat and more a comment on approach to any given game moving forward. So, if you are interested in match up specific content, sorry to let you down today. Our morning links from today give some nice background Kobe and Wade and, like our previous game previews you can hash out the players of import simply by examining the rosters from both teams.
I am taking this approach for the simple reason that at some point the Lakers are going to need to decide what they want most out of this year. As we noted in our season preview and have touched on several times since, the Lakers headed into this season with contrasting goals of winning as many games as possible while also developing the young players. The balancing act which would come from trying to achieve both goals would be difficult and likely unsuccessful.
It is too early to comment on how well any of the young players are being developed. Jordan Clarkson’s second half rise last season speaks to that. At some point, with any of these guys, it might just click and we see a bound forward in their growth.
This is likely more true for a player like D’Angelo Russell who has looked farther behind Clarkson and Julius Randle, but it can also be true for the latter two. Players of such little pro experience can always learn new things and when the lessons finally stick and are combined with physical talent, the output increases.
What we do know, however, is that the Lakers are not winning games yet. Their 1-5 record against a relatively soft schedule confirms this team isn’t yet good. Whether this version of the team can be good is another question, but the evidence (even if only six games worth) is mounting to a negative answer there.
So, in any given game, the question above about trying to win versus trying to develop the young players via meaningful game action crystallizes further. Will the coaches continue to pour valuable minutes into veteran players who might get the team closer to a few wins or will they go more in the other direction, handing out minutes to the young players and letting them take their lumps (and losses) in the process?
This isn’t a decision which needs to be made today against the Heat, or even tomorrow against the Magic. But, if the team continues to lose at a rate similar to what they are now, it will be a decision which will need to be made. Because it will be difficult to walk the balance beam for an entire season. This much we know. In fact, we probably knew it before the year even started, even if we didn’t want to fully admit to it.
So, enjoy the game tonight. I will certainly try to and will be watching intently as Kobe and Wade duke it out, Hassan Whiteside tries to dunk on Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle takes his southpaw styles up against Chris Bosh’s, and D’Angelo Russell tries to earn some 4th quarter burn. The game itself has the chance to be a good one.
Where you can watch: 4:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.