Lebron James and the Lakers aren’t being given the respect they deserve as we approach The King’s first season in LA. In an article published in August by ESPN the Lakers were projected to finish sixth in the west, behind the Jazz, the Thunder, and even the Nuggets. I understand, the Lakers roster is almost completely retooled outside of 20 year olds, but they did add the best player in the world this offseason – the type of guy who has carried his team to finals eight… EIGHT!…. straight seasons.
The Lakers core will benefit from a good mix of youth and veterans. It’s a roster that lacks a ton of size and depth up front, but the Lakers have the type of positional versatility that can offset that. With Lebron, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Michael Beasley they have a lot of players that can play big when the Lakers want to play small ball. They’ll also benefit from good guard depth, with Lonzo Ball, KCP, and Josh Hart returning and the addition of Rondo. It’s hard not to notice the overall depth of the roster, albeit not the super team we all expected in Los Angeles.
The Lakers will undoubtedly struggle with defense and adjusting to Lebron’s ultra passive aggressive coaching style, but this a roster that has much more talent than the Cavs had last year. Brandon Ingram looks like a stud and will be the best player Lebron has played with since Kyrie, which will help alleviate the night-to-night burden Lebron had to take on this past year. Lebron’s teams have won 50 games in each of the previous 6 season, and although the West is undoubtedly harder than the East, it’s not inconceivable to see the Lakers threaten that 50 win number. I’m expecting the Lakers to win 50+ games this year and to 3rd or 4th in the west.