It didn’t take long for Magic Johnson to come to the realization that what he’s got in Laker-land isn’t enough to challenge for an NBA title. Anybody can see what he’s up against.
D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle aren’t going to take the Lakers where Magic wants them to go. Who knows if any of the three will turn into so much as All-Stars, at this stage? What everyone can see, including the Lakers legend now running the show, is that none is going to be that transcendent superstar that can carry the franchise and turn it into a championship contender. There’s no Magic or Kobe in this group.
Pachulia admits that he didn’t handle those early weeks the right way. You’ve heard plenty of athletes shrug off the notion of outside noise by saying they don’t read the paper or check the media. Not Pachulia. He was on the internet. He read the negative stuff. He listened to the chatter. It was hard on him.
In the beginning, I was reading a lot, my ears were kind of open and hearing a lot, Pachulia said. I think that was not the right thing for me to do. It was affecting me in a negative way after I was reading so much of these critics. But I am thankful to my coaches for telling me and reminding me not to listen to that stuff. The most important thing for me is to listen to my coaches and my teammates, are they comfortable with me being part of this team? They were, and that’s what motivated me, changed my approach.