The Lakers season ended last spring inside Denver’s arena, the Lakers leaving the building and heading into an offseason of certain change. It was at the final buzzer of that game that word of Frank Vogel’s eventual firing went public, undoubtedly a regrettable first step toward the change the Lakers sought after finishing 11th in the West. On Wednesday they returned to Denver with new coach Darvin Ham, seven new players and a bunch of the same problems, the vibes inside the locker room undeniably bad just four games into the season.
Losing can do that, but something bigger seems to be weighing on this team — and especially its stars.

All of it, for James, Davis and others who were here last season, makes it seem as if the Lakers aren’t at the beginning of a season but are more or less continuing down the hopeless road last year’s team walked en route to the bottom third of the West. Jason Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks have the best offense in the league, scoring 122.9 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers are last at 97.1, the only team under 100 points per 100 possessions. Last year, the gap between the best and worst offense in the NBA was 12.4 points.