The Los Angeles Lakers are dealing with a ton of new pieces heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
Despite having all these new pieces, the expectations are sky high for this team. Of course, any team featuring LeBron James and Anthony Davis are instant championship contenders, but teams who bring on nine new players and a new coaching staff often take time to gel before figuring things out.
This is what Vogel wants to warn fans of heading into the new season. He obviously knows the team is capable of winning a championship, but it’ll be almost impossible for them to look like that right off the bat, according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:
We have the pieces to compete for a championship. To have expectations that it’s all going to come together immediately might be reaching a little bit. I’m sure we’ll have some bumps in the road. But hopefully as these guys gel … we have a number of guys with terrific resumes, but they have to learn each other. And they’ll have to learn each other quickly. Then we’ll be in the mix for the regular season and positioning ourselves for a playoff run. You just never know how quickly that process is going to play out. So hopefully, whatever the regular season looks like, by the time you get into the playoffs you’re gelling at the right time and playing your best basketball.
This is a good way for Vogel to temper expectations heading into his first season. He knows that he’ll be integrating a brand new offense and defense to a group of players that’s never played together as well as the common fact that James-led teams often have slumps early in the season.
The good news for the Lakers is that not only are they loaded with talent, they also have a very easy start to their schedule. Of their first 21 games, 11 are against non-playoff teams from last season and three of the other 10 are against playoff teams that lost their best player to trade or free agency.
While there are no easy nights in the NBA, 14 of their 21 games are against teams with obviously less talent on the roster.
If the Lakers can get off to a hot start, they’ll buy themselves some breathing room should a midseason slump happen. It will also raise their expectations even higher — something James has never had trouble with.