Do not take any results from the preseason seriously.
I mean it. Don’t do it. The Sixers blew out the Celtics Monday night, but a game without Kevin Garnett (and Andrew Bynum) is not an accurate reflection of anything that you might see on the court in just a couple weeks. It just doesn’t matter.
But sometimes you can start to see trends that you should watch heading into the season.
So the Utah Jazz blew out the Lakers 114-80 Tuesday night in Anaheim, and Lakers fans should yawn. The loss makes the Lakers 0-4 in the preseason, but that is utterly meaningless. The Lakers were without Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol or Jordan Hill in the paint Tuesday night, for starters. At least Kobe Bryant put on a show in the third quarter (he finished with 31), so the Lakers fans in attendance feel like they got their money’s worth. Which is all anyone can hope for in the preseason.
But there is something going on this preseason Lakers fans should be concerned about:
That’s what you see in preseason games — Kobe and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol don’t need big minutes to get ready for the season. Dwight Howard is sidelined. Those are not the guys getting the run. What you see in the preseason are the guys who get limited minutes during the regular season getting big minutes.
The Jazz roll out nice young players to get minutes in the preseason — Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and on down the line. The Lakers… not so much.
The Lakers starting five may well be the league’s best. They will show up ready to ball for the regular season. But the second five has either Chris Duhon or Steve Blake as the backup point, Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison, the currently injured Jordan Hill, Earl Clark and maybe Chris Douglas-Roberts. They are not a deep team.
That may not matter as much once they get to the playoffs when the starters can run more minutes (with less travel and regular days off). As long as they are healthy they will still win a lot of regular season games.
But the Lakers need to keep Nash’s minutes under 30 a game this season and bring Kobe’s down from the 38 a game he played last season. And of course some guys are going to miss games due to injury (or just need a night off) during the coming nearly six-month regular season grind.
And you can fairly question how much the Lakers bench will contribute during that grind after watching them this preseason. It could impact their playoff seeding.
Lakers fans, don’t worry about your team losing big to the Jazz in a meaningless preseason game. But you should be a little bit concerned about why.