The Los Angeles Lakers are currently the best team in the Western Conference, in front of the current 2nd seed, Utah Jazz, by a margin of 4.5 games. It’s been an extremely impressive season as they’re currently 36-9 with their two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, recently being named Western Conference starters for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game. A very impressive feat, as no other team in the NBA can say the same thing. Still, the team has lost both of their games to the Los Angeles Clippers while also getting beat pretty soundly by the Milwaukee Bucks and even more soundly by the Boston Celtics just a few days ago. All three teams have really challenged the Lakers, as some have said they’ve exposed some roster weaknesses for the Lakers that may keep them from winning an NBA championship.
LeBron James was asked if he felt a mid-season change would be needed for the Lakers, possibly through trade as the deadline is approaching on February 6th. Of course, you don’t expect LeBron to throw his fellow teammates under the bus publicly, but he did offer some interesting context towards the end of his answer (transcribed by Kristian Winfield/NY Daily News and first reported by Dave McMenamin/ESPN):
“No. We have enough right now, but it’s not about competing or worry about June. It’s about January, and if we continue to get better throughout January and we move onto February and continue to get better.
“We’re a really good team, but we’re not a great team yet. We shouldn’t be. We’re just now being put together in September, and from September to now, we’re a better team. And if we continue this trend and continue to put ourselves in position where we can compete for a championship and have a chance — and in this league and in sports in general, all you want is a chance.”
As I said, what do you expect LeBron to say here? Still, he does present a great point that this team is 36-9 all while being pieced together in July and not playing basketball together until August. Although the Clippers, Bucks, and Celtics have all had impactful additions to their rosters that have changed their teams, they still have had much more consistency throughout between the 2018-19 season and the current 2019-20 season.
However, the Lakers really could use a playmaking threat off the bench as well as a wing defender to score when LeBron James is off the floor as well as defend the large and talented wings of the NBA such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Lakers are still waiting to see if they could acquire Andre Iguodala from the Memphis Grizzlies, and have reportedly looked into Derrick Rose on the Detroit Pistons. They’ve also been connected to Robert Covington and Darren Collison who might come out of retirement. Any trade would more than likely involve Kyle Kuzma, as his name has been periodically floating around trade rumors.
We’ll have to see if LeBron James ends up being right if the Lakers don’t make a move and still make a run at a championship. Still, with all the rumors being thrown around, obviously, Rob Pelinka thinks the Lakers may have some room to improve.