Fans tend to be a bit obsessed with acquisitions and roster turnover. The ugly truth is contending teams can rarely handle such flux. The Los Angeles Lakers have rolled out a new iteration of themselves in in back-to-back seasons. So far, the jury is still out on their mixed bag of “basketball stuff.”
The Lakers had a clear desire for high powered offense on a limited budget. Naturally, you’re left with many one-dimensional players. Don’t get me wrong – Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony, and Kent Bazemore have contributed this year. It’s only been Melo that’s shown consistency. Bazemore is on the fringes of the rotation, as of late. Monk has had weeks where he’s looked worth it as a lottery pick, but other times that shows why he was a free agent.
General Manager Rob Pelinka did not envision the level of injury and inconsistency they house. The latter is further complicated by a clear expectation for the year: title or bust. The Buddy Hield trade that was nixed for acquiring Russell Westbrook is a clear statement to support this mindset. Keep in mind, this was a move spear-headed by its stars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
They could not have anticipated things being this rough. One could talk themselves into it still being early, which is true, but I’d contest. Losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder serve as concerning evidence. Five of their eight wins have been by four points or less. They’re working much harder than they should.
The stars have given enough indication of what they don’t want to do during the regular season. That includes Davis spending less time at center. It also incorporates James being conservative with his two-way ability until the playoffs. Injury is the primary reason for their reservations. As it stands – why not be the best version of themselves if they’re getting hurt and weary for less? LeBron is out already and AD has spent more time with bumps and bruises from random happenings. So many caveats on the table have crippled the Lakers in some ways. It begs the question of how the roster can be unlocked when their biggest talents exhibit so much reluctance?
There are 67 games of basketball left for the Lakers. Despite my written words of worry, that’s a lot of time to get SOMETHING figured out. As it stands now, we are watching a team that placed a few of their own roadblocks in their path. It’s going to take a great navigator to steer them on the right path to a title. That must get out in front of them before it’s down the road to another disaster of a season.