After the Lakers signed LeBron last year, everyone immediately started talking about them as a title contender. Now that they have traded for Anthony Davis, the hype is only growing, and with good cause.
Adding a talent like Davis, no matter what the cost, will energize a fan base. Adding a player like AD to a roster with LeBron? Well that’s just down right not fair. The Lakers gave up a lot to bring Davis over from New Orleans, and if he winds up leaving after 1 year (however unlikely that is), it would be a disaster for them. But it’s a move they had to make to take advantage of LeBron’s slowly closing window of prime.
The Lakers were hell bent on adding Kawhi Leonard to the team as well this offseason, but he spurned them and joined the crosstown rival Clippers, which left them in an awkward position. The team had worked hard to open two max slots next to LeBron but missed the boat on many of the players worthy of that opening while waiting for Kawhi. That left LA with a bunch of cap space, but no player deserving to take it up.
Instead, the Lakers made a series of smaller signings to improve their depth. They brought in wing players Avery Bradley and Danny Green, who will both be solid players for this team. Bradley is still one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, and Green is a two-way 3-and-D guy that any team would covet.
They also re-signed Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, and Alex Caruso, all of whom played decently well for them last year and will be contributors off the bench. The Lakers brought in DeMarcus Cousins later in the offseason, but Boogie suffered a torn ACL during offseason work and will now miss the whole season.
This left the team very thin at center, so they desperately went out and signed Dwight Howard for his second stint in LA. This has disaster written all over it. Not only has Howard shown time and time again that he is a locker room issue, but he no longer has the skill required for front offices to deal with being such a headache. Hopefully if this goes south, the Lakers are smart enough to pull the plug quickly.
The Lakers only made one draft pick this year after trading the number 4 overall pick to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade. At number 46 they selected Iowa State swingman Talen Horton-Tucker. THT can guard multiple positions on the defensive end and showed an ability to make plays on the offensive side of the court, averaging a shade under 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game as a freshmen. At only 18 years old, there is a ton of room for growth, and given the team’s depth issues and current injury to Kyle Kuzma, I would expect him to get some run early in the season
Offseason Grade: A- | Predicted Western Conference Ranking: 3
The Lakers got Anthony Davis this offseason, who is one of maybe 3 players who are legitimately better than LeBron James. It’s the first time in his life LeBron will step onto the court and not be the best player on his team. That alone is enough to earn an A-.
The rest of the offseason was a bit of a crapshoot for the Lakers, but they were able to gather enough depth pieces to be competitive. If both LeBron and AD are healthy down the stretch, this team will be Finals contenders, but if one or both goes down for an extended period of time, it could be another disaster season.
Graduate of Loyola Maryland and die hard Boston sports fan. "I rub it in pretty good when I win" - Tom Brady