Let’s face it…the Lakers don’t exactly have a championship team this season. Despite adding LeBron James to the roster in hopes he would be the savior this young team needed and do for the Lakers what he was able to do in Cleveland, the franchise hasn’t exactly met those expectations and we have yet to witness the immediate greatness that was supposed to follow King James to Los Angeles.
During his 15 year tenure, James has broken records that surpassed both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and has a name that is easily discussed in any top 5, top 10 conversation. Because basketball is a team sport, it’s never been about how talented a leader is, but more about how put together the team is collectively. For example, the team loses to the Grizzlies, arguably one of the worst teams in the league right now, meanwhile passes MJ for 4th on the all time scoring list after losing to Denver. Although commendable, his individual merits don’t seem to be seem good enough to bring about a rebirth for the struggling squad.
Aside from the individual buzz James’ has acquired lately and throughout his career, Brandon Ingram has been a standout player as well. Averaging at about 18 points per game with 5 total rebounds, 14 field goal attempts and a 50% field goal percentage, the kid is having a pretty impressive season. Hopefully, the front office is smart enough to not let this young star go, because it still blows my mind that they thought it was a bright idea to let go of Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell.
Other keepers and key players for the Lakers are Kyle Kuzma and Javale McGee. There are a few others who definitely have potential to be a part of the teams’ resurrection, such as Tyson Chandler and Josh Hart. Maybe even Lonzo Ball can be included to that conversation. You would think with such an eclectic mix of veteran and young athletes, it would create something like a power squad, but that hasn’t happened yet and quite frankly, adding players to relive the glory days of their careers isn’t helping. With all the major problems on the court, there’s even bigger problems from an organizational standpoint.
As humbling as it may be for LeBron to not be the hero who saves the day, not making the playoffs could actually be a blessing in disguise for the Lakers as a whole. As wild as it sounds, especially coming from a Lakers fan, this would give the coaching staff an opportunity to create a new strategy going into off season. It would also give LeBron, who has made it to 8 consecutive playoffs at this point, a chance to breathe, regroup, and catch a break. Do I think the Lakers are better off without him? Not necessarily, but I do think some of the pressure he’s been under should absolutely be redirected more towards the team as a unit and coming up with some sort of infrastructure that is sustainable and more efficient moving forward.