Last season the Lakers were probably the biggest disappointment in the NBA. The season before that the Lakers were NBA champions and had no real trouble in the playoffs. The closest series was the finals where they beat the Heat in 6 games.
The fall was surprising, but Lebron and Davis missed over 25 games last season. They of course made the playoffs, but they almost lost to the Warriors in the Play in torment. They did win that game and became the 7th seed in the west.
They lost in the first round to the Suns (who were the west’s representative for the finals) in 6 games. The series was close, but for a Lebron lead team, it was a massive disappointment. This would be like the 97 Bulls winning only 45 games, and losing in the first round.
The west was good, but the Lakers were early season favorites. To make things worse for LA is the Clippers also had a playoff disappointment. However that was last season, do the Lakers have a chance to win it all?
The team stayed the same with the front office and coach but did make some waves around the NBA. The first big free agency signing was Russell Westbrook. This had the sportswriters in shock for days.
Next, they got Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, which also led people to believe they have enough talent to win. All three of the free agency additions are fan favorites, so of course, people are going to bandwagon this team.
These moves have brought the hype back to the Lakers, but are more controversial than years past. The interesting thing is this is not the first time the Lakers have made moves like this.
The first we should get vibes from the 2012-13 season when the Lakers signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard (this was his first appearance as a Laker). This hyped the NBA crowd because at that time Howard and Nash were seen as elite players (especially Howard).
2012-13 was supposed to be the year that Kobe Byrant went back and won finals, think of it as his super team. Instead, injuries and bad chemistry derailed the season and the Lakers got swept in the first round.
We can also compare this recent Lakers roster to the 2003-04 Lakers. The Lakers were led by Byrant and O’Neal who led them to 3 straight championships. Then in 2002-03 they declined and lost in the second round.
The Lakers needed more talent, so they signed an aging Karl Malone, Horace Grant, and Gary Payton. All three were excellent players at one time, now they were a shell of their formal selves. The Lakers however did improve and made the finals again, and lost.
The additions of Westbrook, Anthony, and Howards will not make a big difference. Besides Westbrook; Anthony and Howard regressed years before this season. Instead, Howard and Anthony will be role players on this team.
Howard will probably start over Marc Gosal, but that is a weak spot for the Lakers. Anthony will be a bench player, maybe the sixth man (either him, Gasol, or Rondo).
Westbrook will start and will be an all-star caliber player.
Westbrook will of course be good, but the other two will be solid roleplayers to average starters.
With Westbrook, the Lakers showed improvement as a team, because point guard was a weak spot for the Lakers a season ago.
This should help them quite a bit and will lead them to a top-four seed in the west. They should contend, but winning a championship is a different story. The Lakers will have to prove they can make the finals before we take them as champions.
The Suns still have a stacked roster, and probably a better team. The prediction is they win about 50-55 games and lose in the second or conference championship. This is just a ring-bait team, just like 2012-13 and 2003-4.
Barely ever is adding 3 or 4 aging players a good idea for a team. Even if they do win a championship it will only be one. Westbrook might stay more than 2 years, but the others won’t. Anthony in the past has been a toxic player, so he’ll either retire or journey on to the next team.
Howard has been a journeyman after his years in Orlando. The Lakers will have to add some young players to be good for years. We haven’t even talked about an aging Lebron and their hopes seem unlikely.