The Los Angeles Lakers opened up their preseason slate Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Honda Center in Anaheim, dropping the game 108-99.
Despite the loss, a lot of positives can be taken away from the game as the Lakers demonstrated the up-tempo style they want to play with rookie Lonzo Ball at point guard.
But to play up-tempo players need to be in good shape, which was a big emphasis from the Lakers front office to the players at the end of last season when outlining goals for the offseason.
While many Lakers reported to training camp in outstanding shape, Lakers head coach Luke Walton still believes they struggled with fatigue in Saturday night’s loss, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Luke Walton said fatigue was a big factor tonight…when the Lakers got tired, they stopped moving the ball & settled for threes
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 1, 2017
Considering many of the Lakers players haven’t played a full game since last April when the season ended, it was expected for them to get a little tired in their first game back, and Walton fully understands that.
Additionally, the Lakers are not used to playing at this speed as they played at a much slower pace last season, focusing a lot on their half-court offseason.
But with a shortened training camp and a lot of the focus being on defense as the Lakers were the least efficient defensive team in basketball last season, Walton had yet to implement any half-court offense going into Saturday’s game so the goal was just to get out in transition and run as much as possible.
Walton did a nice job of managing players minutes in the first game, as Ball led the team with 36 minutes played and no other player played more than 26 minutes. With only six total preseason games though players will not have as much time as they usually do to get up to game speed.