The future is bright for the Los Angeles Lakers—or so it seems.
Many fans even say the Lakers have the potential to dethrone the superteam and three-time champion of the era, the Golden State Warriors.
With the addition of three-time NBA champion LeBron James for a four-year, $154 million contract, the new roster seems promising.
The Lakers should use this season as a testing ground to build team chemistry. They need to develop familiarity with each others’ play styles, especially if they want to make long playoff runs in the future.
Along with the addition of James, the recent signings of veteran center JaVale McGee, guard Lance Stephenson, guard Rajon Rondo, guard Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and veteran forward Michael Beasley put Lakers fans in a delirious and unrealistic expectation of the Lakers returning as one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They hope to rekindle the pride that was lost after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant retired.
However, some fans raised concerns that because of the newly signed players, the focus and development of the team will not be placed on the young core but on the superstars instead.
In 2017, the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball for the second pick and Kyle Kuzma for their 27th pick. Their statistics from the previous season show that their future has a lot in store for the future Lakers team.
Although Kuzma was the 27th pick, he averaged 16.1 games with a 45 field goal percentage, and Lonzo had an average of 10.2 points and 7.2 assists.
But if the rookies aren’t nurtured with the right leadership or first-hand playing experience, how will they improve?
As much as I want the Lakers to return to its former greatness, I find it hard to believe that it will be able to perform at the top level against other teams such as the Warriors and the Houston Rockets that have good team chemistry and all-star lineups.
The Warriors have a full starting lineup of all-stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and newly signed all-star DeMarcus Cousins. Their impeccable ball movement not only creates space for the “Splash Brothers” to shoot 3s, but also enables them to work their way throughout the paint.
The Rockets are also a threat this upcoming season, with an additional all-star this upcoming season; 10-time NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join nine-time all-star Chris Paul and six-time all-star James Harden for a one-year $2.4 million contract.
However, this is not to say that the Lakers won’t get far within the season. Cousins will return from his injury in January—or even later. Had Paul or Kawhi Leonard not been injured, the Warriors may have not even beaten the Rockets or the San Antonio Spurs.
To be title contenders this season, James needs to step up when fighting against stronger teams in the West, and the team’s defense also needs to improve. Now that Julius Randle, one of the Lakers’ top defenders, has moved to the New Orlean Pelicans, the Lakers would need to step up on their defense to adequately fill the shoes of Randle near the rim.
Although I don’t expect much this upcoming season, only time will tell if the Lakers have the team chemistry and synergy of being a top contender in the NBA. Maybe they’ll even make it to the playoffs. Who knows?
All I know is that I’m excited for what the Lakers have in store this season and that I hope to attend more costly games and witness arguably one of the greatest to ever play the game.