The Lakers signed LeBron James this offseason, but they also made some rather odd signings to go with him. Rajon Rondo is now a Laker, then they resigned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and signed JaVale McGee. The Lakers definitely need another superstar to really make noise in this conference. LeBron will be enough to make them playoff contenders, but that is about it. This is likely going to be a waiting year for the Lakers, before signing someone in the offseason, or even making a trade halfway through the year. Those are the likely two options for this Lakers team moving forward.
The two Spiderman pointing at each other meme describes this situation, and while Rajon Rondo is a nice role player and vet, you have to look at why they didn’t add some versatility at this position. Rondo and Ball are not the greatest shooters, although Ball has a lot more time to develop a shot. Ball is a better defensive player, as Rondo has slipped dramatically over the last few seasons. If Ball continues to struggle shooting, the Lakers lack a guard that can come in and provide offense. They did add Stephenson, but once again he isn’t a heat check type shooter.
While centers are evaporating in today’s game, the Lakers do not have much at the center position. They signed JaVale McGee, who is a 30-year-old center option who has not played over 20 minutes per game since 2011. Ivica Zubac has flashed some potential, but has always remained a third string option. He is currently second on the depth chart this season for the Lakers. Zubac could see some backup minutes. The Lakers might have to get creative, and smaller lineups will likely happen more often than not, but the loss of Larry Nance and Julius Randle hurts those effort.
Surrounding LeBron James with shooters is usually the recipe for success, although the Lakers have to be looking to have the point guards handle the ball more which wasn’t the case in Miami or Cleveland. Lonzo Ball shot 36% from the field last season, while the rest were better shooters around the rim rather than outside shooting. The Lakers will need some scoring from the outside at some point, and you are likely going to witness a lot of streaky shooting, and with that comes dry spells. We are also curious to see if LeBron’s shot attempts go up with more ball-handling guards.
The Western Conference had ten teams above .500 last season, and the Lakers were not one of them. The Lakers are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. This is no guarantee for Los Angeles, especially with the Nuggets, Jazz, Pelicans, and Timberwolves all be tough teams that finished in the bottom half. You also have a pesky Clippers team that will give teams trouble. Adding LeBron James is going to push them past the 40 win mark, but that isn’t a lock for the playoffs in the Western Conference, just ask Denver last season.