The new-look Los Angeles Lakers took the floor together for the first time in their preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings. Although the final result was a lopsided 105-75 loss for the purple and gold, there were a lot of positive takeaways. Former Laker Derek Fisher later broke down the game, suggesting a lot of excitement within the franchise.
“I think this version of this Lakers team with so many new faces, new coach, new optimism, and new outlook - I do think there is a positive energy and excitement, and I think we saw some of that in the first outing,” Fisher said.
Tone setting with the preseason games
The biggest highlight of the match-up against the Kings was the return of a healthy Anthony Davis on the NBA floor. Davis showed up with a lot of energy and recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in just 15 minutes.
Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones started alongside the Lakers’ Big Three, and the team got to an efficient start. Russell Westbrook came up with some easy buckets and dimes, Davis dominated the paint, and LeBron James was going through the motions. Overall, spirits were high, and the second unit got a lot of minutes in the fixture.
“I think the most important thing that I felt like I noticed, some of the things I pay attention to was, there was a level of focus and seriousness in the eyes,” Fisher said on Spectrum SportsNet.
“You could tell that the game was important, and not necessarily to win the game, but that this was a serious opportunity to start building our habits; building our foundation,” Fisher added. “There’s going to be a mindset and approach to how we step out there every night when we put this uniform on.”
Darvin Ham’s first game as Lakers’ head coach
Darvin Ham got to work with the roster in training camp, but this was his first experience as their head coach in a real game. The most important thing for Ham to get right at this juncture is to be a commanding voice in the locker room. He needs to find that balance between handing out instructions and providing freedom simultaneously.
“As a first-year coach it is so important to get your players connected to your voice; and what you expect from them. … He’s not missing out on opportunities to stop and teach, even though, you know, with a really talented team, some veteran guys – you don’t wanna stop it too much,” Fisher said.
The Lakers face the Phoenix Suns in their next preseason game. It will be interesting to see what kind of game plan Darvin Ham has up his sleeve.