One week into the NBA season, and there have been plenty of surprises, including two teams that were expected to be among the worst playing incredibly well. The same can’t be said for the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers. All of whom are winless in October thus far.
It’s obviously still early, but being among the last teams to win a game doesn’t usually bode well, and three of these teams have playoff aspirations that are quickly being called into question. So, can they turn things around? Let’s find out.
Winless NBA Team #1: The Los Angeles Lakers
In retrospect, we should’ve seen this coming, but we couldn’t have anticipated the Los Angeles Lakers struggling this much. The Lakers simply can’t hit a shot from outside, shooting just 21.2% from three on 39.3 attempts per game. Even with a still dominant LeBron James and a healthy Anthony Davis, it’s hard to overcome such a gulf considering their opponents have shot 34.7% on 33.7 threes per game, or a nine-point difference on average.
The Lakers know that this is an issue and are reportedly scouring the trade market for players to help them address their spacing, with Terry Rozier or Josh Richardson being options. Either would help, though the elephant in the Crypto.com arena is Russell Westbrook. A part of the reason that they are 0-3 is his poor play and boneheaded decision-making.
He lit Twitter ablaze with his pull-up jumper, up one, with 30 seconds remaining and 20 seconds on the shot clock. That bad shot gave the Portland Trailblazers plenty of time to win the game, which they did. It’s clear that they’re trying to avoid giving up two unprotected future firsts to get off of a player who will be a free agent in 8 months, but he’s actively hurting them on-court.
If they make a smaller deal for Rozier or Richardson, they’ll also have to think about cutting Westbrook’s minutes too, especially when Dennis Schroeder returns. Both moves would help boost their offense, and they actually have the third-ranked defense at the moment, giving them a much better shot at making the playoffs.