LEBRON AND THE LAKERS
Lebron’s move to the Lakers’s has undoubtedly shaken up the NBA and tipped the balance of power even more towards the Western Conference. This controversial move has left some speculating whether or not it was the right decision for Lebron in this stage of his career.
While on the surface, critics may be right, however, after looking at all of the intricate pieces that the Lakers offer, the Lakers presented the best opportunity for Lebron at this stage in his career. Moreover, you could go as far as to say that this may be the best team Lebron has ever played with in his career. This article will highlight some of the reasons why Lebron signing with the Lakers was great for him and why the Lakers are a competitive team this season.
The Growth potential with the Lakers at this point is unparalleled to any other team Lebron has been apart up to this point. The 2019 Laker roster has 14 players 25 and under. Six of these young players(Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Caldwell-Pope) have shown enough promise at this point to potentially be All-stars at some point in their careers. Moreover, the Lakers will have over 20 million in cap space next season, 35 million the following season, and over 50 million in the 2021-22 season. This represents the potential to add more parts to this young team. And attracting new talent has never been a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Laker organization has always been in a class by itself. Not only does it have more Hall of Famers than any other team, it has one of the most dedicated ownership groups, and Magic Johnson at the helm of the organization. Moreover, Rob Pelinka has represented and been associated with talented players and has a championship pedigree in the NCAA. Not to mention Luke Walton has won a title with the Lakers. This is a far better situation than Lebron had with the tumultuous Cavaliers organizations and even better than the Miami Heat. Moreover, Los Angeles is the biggest market Lebron has ever played in his career and it gives him the potential for growth off the court for his brand.
However, the 2017-18 Lakers are the best collection of talent Lebron has ever played with in his career. When Lebron joined the Miami Heat, the Heat did have Dwayne Wade, Jermaine O’Neal, and Michael Beasley. However, D-wade and Jermaine O’Neal were in the later stages of their career and O’Neal left when Lebron arrived. The Cavaliers before Lebron(and Kevin Love) got to Cleveland, were were losing 60% of their games under Kyrie Irving’s leadership.
However,2017-18 Lakers were able to win 35 games in the Western Conference and even beat Houston one game during the regular season. And they did not have a losing record against any Eastern Conference playoff team and they had a 53% winning percentage against all Eastern Conference teams! After the All-star break, the Lakers won 47% of their games against Western Conference opponents. Based on these projections, if the Lakers had been in the Eastern Conference last season, they would have most likely made the playoffs. And the Lakers this off-season added Javale Mcgee, Rondo, Michael Basely, and Lance Stephenson. These additional parts bring what the Lakers need most to make the playoffs: experience, defense, and offensive consistency.
On the offense end, the new additions to the Lakers are great offensive rebounders. And Javal Mcgee, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson do not need to dominate the ball to be effective offensively. Rondo is known for unlocking his teammates potential.
On the defense end, Javale Mcgee, Rondo, Michael Basely, and Lance Stephenson are tough, gritty players that have played deep into the playoffs. Michael Beasley won a championship with Lebron in Miami. Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and Javale Mcgee have battled Lebron in either the Eastern Conference Finals or the NBA Finals. These new additional parts greatly complement the Lakers’s young roster. The Lakers as constructed, without Lebron, are probably better than Miami Heat, Kings, or the Grizzlies. And now add Lebron. This team is extremely competitive next season.
Moreover, despite playing for 15 seasons, Lebron has never played with an elite backcourt, allowing Lebron to function as a point-forward for all the teams he has played for in the past. And while Kyrie was great, JR was spotty at best and never made great decisions on the court. This last postseason, a backcourt of George Hill and JR Smith averaged approximately 15 points per game and were outperformed by every backcourt they played in the playoffs.
The Lakers 2019 roster includes one of the greatest point guards of all time in Rondo, upcoming point guard Lonzo Ball, and Shooting guards that include Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart. This can relieve Lebron of some of his offensive facilitation duties and enable to him to score and focus on defense. This will be beneficial for his game.