Much has been made about the Los Angeles Lakers quest for a second star to pair with LeBron James and their inability to do so to this point. The Lakers will have several options this summer as multiple stars are set to hit free agency but there is a viable chance that they miss out once more, leaving the team with James and their current young core.
Luke Walton does not believe that to be an issue as the head coach told members of the media just how high he is on his current roster’s potential while responding to questions about a recent Bleacher Report article asking why some stars are shying away from teaming up with James. Following via Tania Ganguli of the LA Times:
“I haven’t read the article, so I can’t comment on that, but what you’re asking me, to me the question is: Why would you not want to play with LeBron?” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s a winner and he’s an incredible player and he’s unselfish.”
Just because the Lakers are planning to add a superstar, doesn’t mean they will get one. And if they don’t, Walton still thinks he has a team that can win a championship.
“Absolutely,” Walton said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I can already see your faces, the headline: ‘Luke says Lakers are winning championship now,’ But absolutely, this group, if we continue to grow together and go through what teams go through and our young players continue to get better at the rate they have in their short NBA careers, absolutely.”
That’s high praise for a core consisting of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, each of whom has had their successes and shortfalls so far this season. To this point, none of the Lakers’ young quartet have shown that they will be superstars but none have been outright failures, either. So perhaps there is something behind what Walton is saying: that a well-balanced team surrounding LeBron James can win a title even in the absence of a superstar sidekick.
That seems unlikely given the current state of the NBA and Walton is putting a lot of pressure on himself to contend with a flawed roster, even if he doesn’t mean that the Lakers a title contender this season. Nevertheless, the Lakers are in a pretty great spot and look like a playoff team, right now. With more growth from the young core, who knows what they can accomplish?