LeBron James preaches defense as the ‘one thing’ he wants Lakers to improve on from last season

David Akerman
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to move on from their disastrous 2021-22 season with the start of the 2022-23 regular season quickly approaching.

Los Angeles had its media day on Monday, and superstar LeBron James spoke about a variety of things. Among the topics was where the Lakers need to be better this coming season. James had a short and simple answer when asked about that.

Of course, many people know about the sayings “offense wins games” and “defense wins championships.” That was true for the Lakers back in the 2019-20 campaign when they dispatched the Miami Heat in six games to win that season’s title.

That season, the Lakers had a 106.1 defensive rating, which was good enough for third in the league behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.

They then finished with a 106.8 defensive rating in the ensuing campaign, which was the best mark in the league. However, the team dealt with plenty of injuries along the way and lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs after making it out of the play-in tournament.

Last season, the squad’s defensive identity completely fell apart. The team finished with a 112.8 defensive rating, which was 21st in the NBA.

That was definitely due in part to some of the players that were on the roster. Players like Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook were brought in to replace the likes of Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Anthony and Westbrook are nowhere near the defenders that Caruso and Caldwell-Pope are.

It seems like the Lakers front office realized its mistakes in building last season’s roster and did its best to correct that this offseason.

New additions like Lonnie Walker IV and Juan Toscano-Anderson have been all about defense since signing for the Lakers, and that definitely bodes well for the team.

Toscano-Anderson even said that he wants be able to guard some of the superstars across the league. Him being able to do that would certainly be a welcome development.

Other players like Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley will help the Lakers regain the defensive identity they had under former head coach Frank Vogel.

The team will have its hands full on opening night, as it will kick things off on the road against Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Oct. 18.

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David is a University of Maryland graduate who has spent most of his life in Miami. He has experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.