Los Angeles Lakers Team Previewby Lamarr Fields October 4, 2021 0 comments
The Los Angeles Lakers finished the 2020-21 season with a 42-30 record. Los Angeles struggled with injuries all year long, with the team’s key players missing several games throughout the campaign. The Lakers were the seventh seed in the Western Conference and played the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Los Angeles would go on to lose the series in six games.
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The Lakers had a busy offseason. The team made headlines after they traded for point guard Russell Westbrook in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and draft picks. In addition, the Lakers added many other free agents, including Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, DeAndre Jordan, Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore, and Rajon Rondo.
The Starting Five
PG – Russell Westbrook
SG – Wayne Ellington
SF – Trevor Ariza
PF- LeBron James
C – Anthony Davis
With this starting five, the Lakers have shooting, along with some shot creators. James and Westbrook will control the ball-handling duties, and it will be up to Ellington and Ariza to space the floor. Both Ariza and Ellington are good three-point shooters. Ariza shot 35 percent from three-point range last season, while Ellington shot 42 percent. However, spacing will be a cause for concern for the Lakers this season.
The big question mark will be how Westbrook and James play off of each other. Both players are used to having the ball in their hands to run the offense. Ariza will be asked to guard the most formidable perimeter player. The question will remain this: At his age, will he be able to keep up with the younger wing players? Ellington is not known for his defense, but he’s going to have to play it at a high level this season.
The Lakers bench is loaded with both veterans and younger players. Los Angeles has playmakers, defenders, and shot-blockers coming off the bench. Talen Horton-Tucker is bound to play a huge role. His ability to score and defend will be a tremendous asset for the Lakers. Howard and Jordan will bring shot-blocking and rebounding. Monk can shoot, giving the Lakers another scoring option.
Nunn is the wild card on this Lakers squad. He’s young, can score, and can also play defense. If he plays to his potential, he could be a key contributor off of the bench. Bazemore is another potential player that can shoot the three and play defense. The Lakers have a lot of players that will want minutes, but there may not be enough to go around.
One Potential Move to Make
If Kevin Love ever gets bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he could land with the Lakers. Love played college basketball at UCLA with Westbrook and played with James in Cleveland. Love could stretch the floor and rebound for the Lakers.
The Lakers have the players to compete for a title, but it will come down to how fast they can come together. The older players staying healthy will be crucial for the team’s success. The health status of Davis throughout the year is especially important. Some young players to watch are Nunn and Horton-Tucker. Both players can score and defend. They will both play a significant role on defense.
Season Prediction: 55-27 and Win Pacific Division
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