Is it weird that I have little to say about a Lakers game? That the strategy doesn’t intrigue me, the match ups don’t matter all that much, and that I don’t really care about the outcome? This usually isn’t the case, but we are at that time of the year where, in reality, those things which typically make up the more enjoyable parts of my viewing experience are losing their luster.
Be it the lottery standings, the roster and front office changes, or simply that we’re now in the 2nd week of March for a season which started, with training camp, way back in September — which was a long time ago. As we say at the beginning of the year, it’s a marathon and not a sprint…well, we’re coming down the home stretch and there’s just little intrigue left.
This doesn’t mean nothing that happens has value. We know that’s not the case.
From an individual performance standpoint, I want to continue to see certain things from the young players. We’ve told you that D’Angelo Russell is trending up, but we’d like that to continue through the end of the year. I want to see him aggressive offensively — especially in trying to drive a bit more, I want him engaged defensively, and seeking out that balance between looking for his own offense and making sure the rest of his teammates are involved.
I want Brandon Ingram to be assertive and not so focused on being a ball mover. Keep looking for your shot, keep cutting and screening then opening up for passes, keep driving the ball in isolation. I want Randle to shoot his jumper without hesitation — especially from behind the arc when it’s wide open. I want him to engage defensively, play hard all game, and not get down or disengage if he goes too many possessions without a meaningful touch offensively.
These are the main things I want to see, but there’s more. There’s always more. But over the course of this game against the Mavs and the remaining 18 ones after it, these are the growth points I want to see the guys reach for. They may not get there, but going through the motions isn’t an option for them even if the circumstances of the season might make it seem like the most desirable approach.
Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.