The Los Angeles Lakers, who fumbled their way through freeing up cap space for a max contract player, are suddenly in the mix for every noteworthy NBA free agent this summer. This sounds nice for the Lakers, compounded by the acquisition of Anthony Davis to accompany LeBron James. This has Laker fans envisioning a team of LeBron, the Brow, and any superstar ranging from Klay Thompson to Kawhi Leonard.
It would be a great addition, too. Having two of the best postseason players in NBA history in LeBron and Kawhi on the Lakers would make the Lakers a scary force come springtime. It would also bring an excitement not seen in Los Angeles since the early part of the 2010 decade. The NBA would be even in the mainstream with one of the best NBA players ever on one of the most prestigious sports franchises ever that is dominating once again. The new “Big Three” of LeBron, Anthony Davis, and another NBA superstar would catapult the Lakers to undeniable favorites for the NBA title. Given the NBA’s uncertain status for who will be the dominant force in the next few years, it would make Los Angeles the clear cut favorites going into next season.
But there are a few problems with adding a max contract player. The Lakers were 22nd in the NBA in bench scoring last season with a team average of 34.5 PPG. This wouldn’t be a problem for the Lakers considering teams like the Warriors, 76ers, and Rockets sustained success last season without much scoring from backups. However, they also played their starters quite a bit, with starters like James Harden (2nd in minutes per game last season with 36.98 MPG), Klay Thompson (8th with 35.05 MPG), and Tobias Harris (tied for 10th with 35.01 MPG) racking up lots of minutes. Last year, the Lakers saw LeBron get shelved and got decimated along the way. Their lack of depth was exposed, leading to the Lakers missing the playoffs. What the Lakers need more than anything are shooters and veteran role players. Injuries can expose a team’s lack of depth and ruin its season. That means players like George Hill, Patrick Beverley, and Danny Green should be on their radar.
Whatever the case, the Lakers making cap space by shedding a few players has made this free agency period more interesting. Thank goodness for this because this period almost went to the wayside with Kevin Durant’s injury and Klay Thompson following suit. The Lakers will probably go for the max contract player to make their dynamic trio despite their shortcomings elsewhere. If it will pay off has yet to be seen.
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