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Can LeBron recruit Anthony Davis to the Lakers? Why it would be a wrap

Anthony Davis teaming up with LeBron James is a scary thought. Recently, after the Lakers lost to the Nets when Dave McMenamin of ESPN asked him about him playing with Anthony Davis, Lebron James was elated. He responded by saying,

“That would be amazing. That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”

Pretty bold statement. Who could blame LeBron for wanting to play with Davis? AD is easily the best center in the game; he currently leads the league in win shares, player efficiency, and in minutes per game.

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At age 26, he is averaging 28.1 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 4.7 APG on 50.5% field goal percentage. For the next 10 years, AD will dominate and be an All-star in the NBA.

LeBron’s comment created a tsunami of speculation and media coverage around the NBA — and it fired up Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry. After hearing the news, Alvin Gentry was quoted as saying:

“No we’re not trading him, We’re not trading him under any circumstance. You can move on from that one. There’s no one in the league we would trade him for. There’s no one out of the league. Not even Beyonce.”

The Pelicans have some cause for concern given that AD recently hired Rich Paul of Klutch Sports to represent him. Rich Paul is also LeBron’s agent and was the architect of his move to Miami.

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After hearing LeBron’s comments, many around the league accused LeBron of tampering. He did after all even have dinner with Davis when he was in town for their game. The NBA defines tapering broadly as, “when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody (player, general manager, etc.) who is under contract with another team in order to negotiate for their services.”

However, the league makes exceptions for players acknowledging that they want to play with other players. And in reality, I am sure that tampering goes on quite a bit in the NBA and it is never reported.

That Friday after Los Angeles Lakers defeated Pelicans, LeBron qualified his previous statements 3:

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“Ask me would I like to play with Kevin Durant? Ask me right now,” “Absolutely,”

“Absolutely,” LeBron said. “Ask me if I would like to play with Jimmy Butler.”

“Would you like to play with Jimmy Butler?” the reporter asked.

“Ask me about Kyrie Irving,” James said. “Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Ask me about [Joel] Embiid. Ben Simmons. Go ahead. All of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on guys, it is not rocket science. It is not rocket science. These are great players. Absolutely, I would want to play with a lot of great players, that is just who I am. So? People get caught up in bunches. Sometimes they wish they could control what you say and they can’t control me. At all. And I play by the rules.”

This is not the first time the Lakers have been accused of tampering. In 2017, the Lakers were fined by the NBA after Magic Johnson’s made similar comments related to Paul George’s free agency — and Paul George never ended signing with the Lakers.

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LeBron’s comment aside, AD would not be the first great player LeBron has team up with in his career. In fact, LeBron has a long history of teaming up with great players to win championships. Even in 2014 when he returned to Cleveland, the Cavaliers traded and brought in perineal All-Stars Kyle Korver and Kevin Love.

When LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beach, he took his career into his own hands, much to the dismay of the Cavalier organization. The move represented a seismic shift in the bargaining power of players.

And it undoubtedly leads the way to other players being more in more control of their careers. And, you could even argue, it paved the way for Kevin Durant’s decision to go to Golden State, Kawhi Leonard’s demand for a trade out of the San Antonio, or even Chris Paul’s move to the Rockets.

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Despite the buzz around the league, Anthony Davis still has two years left on his contract with New Orleans and the Pelicans are prepared to offer him a supermax contract worth over $240 million.

Scarier than the thought of Anthony Davis leaving the Pelicans, is what it would signal to small market NBA teams and to other superstars around the league.

If superstars can will their way out of contract with two years left on the books and ignore supermax deals than it leaves the many organizations helpless in their pursuit of building their teams and franchises. Some would argue that it tips the balance too much in favor of NBA superstars.

Anthony Davis has yet to win a title and his legacy will be tainted without a championship.

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The Pelicans present limited opportunities for Anthony Davis to win a title. Not only is New Orleans the smallest market in the west, but the Western Conference is also glutted full of competitive teams; in fact, half of the teams that made the playoffs last season are currently not in playoff contention.

With Rondo, Javale Mcgee, Caldwell Pope, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and Tyson Chandler being on one-year deals, the Lakers have the cap space to sign AD to a max deal in 2020. These also have enough players to make an appealing trade to the Pelicans organization.

Besides the Lakers, the Pacers, Mavericks, Kings, and Clippers next season will have the cap space to sign AD to a max deal. And the Boston Celtics, if they are willing to part with Kyrie Irving, have the players to trade for Anthony Davis as well.

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Given the depth of the Celtics or Lakers roster, both teams could trade for Anthony Davis and still have the players to compete for a championship. All of these teams are in playoff contention without AD and would put AD in a better situation to win a championship than playing with Pelicans.

If Kawhi and KD go to the Clippers, AD signing with the Lakers may be the only move that could prevent the Clippers from wrecking the league for the next 5 years. And if KD stays with Golden State and Boogie comes back healthy, any team that is going to want to compete with the Golden State Warriors is going to need a dynamic center.

Not only that, but a backcourt of Javale Mcgee and Anthony Davis would undoubtedly be the best frontcourt in the NBA. In the end, the decision will be up to Anthony Davis. Any team that has him will be in a spot to compete for a championship.

The Lonzo Ball effect: Is he the next elite point guard in the making?

LeBron going to the Los Angeles undoubtedly shook up the league and shifted the balance of power even more towards the Western Conference. It filled the vacuum in the Lakers organization that has not made the playoffs in five years and since LeBron’s arrival, they have been fundamental.

Currently, the Lakers are in fourth place in the west, ahead of the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs, Rockets, Jazz, Clippers, and Timberwolves. Pretty impressive for a team that lost over 57% of its games last season.

However, the key to the Lakers’ success this season has not just been LeBron. It has been the development of its young Laker core — in particular, Lonzo Ball.


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Lonzo Ball came into the NBA as probably the most hyped rookie since LeBron James. This is in part because of his father’s boisterous persona and willingness to fawn over Lonzo’s athletic ability.

However, to his father’s credit, Lonzo Ball was a beast in college and high school. As a high school senior, he led his team to a state title and were ranked number one in the nation.

Also, Ball averaged a triple-double and was named Mr. Basketball USA and USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Lonzo was considered by many to be the greatest high school point guards ever.

And not surprising, Lonzo broke the freshman UCLA assist record and was proclaimed to be one of the greatest point guards in the history of the school’s program.

Also not surprisingly, Lonzo was aggressively recruited by Magic Johnson early in his college season to help invigorate his young Laker recruits and to be a selling point to bigtime free agents (shh, don’t tell anybody that was LeBron James).

Similar to Magic Johnson, Lonzo is bigger than most point guards and is a better than average rebounder. He is also a pass-first player and has a good driving game to the rim.


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Because of his size (6’6), he is able to see over his opponents; giving him a better view of the basketball court. He is also strong and long enough to throw more direct passes than smaller point guards, making it easier for him to get players the ball when they need it.

Of course, Lonzo still has his haters. Last season, many critics lamented that Zo was not aggressive enough offensively for a starting point guard or a second overall pick. Often, skeptics said he did not take enough shots or that he shied away from big moments.

However, Lonzo, by any player’s standards, still had a fundamental rookie season; probably one of the greatest in Laker history. But his season was overshadowed because of the historic level that Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, and Donovan Mitchell were playing at last year (btw, Jayson Tatum should have been Rookie of the Year).

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Early into his rookie season, Lonzo ball quickly established himself as an all-around point guard and even broke LeBron James’ record for being the youngest player NBA ever to record a triple-double.

Lonzo finished the season averaging 10.2 ppg, 7.2 apg, and 6.9 rpg and the Lakers won 9 more games than the previous regular season. Pretty impressive. But most importantly, his play and selflessness invigorated the Laker franchise.

It helped unlock the potential of players like Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram. Or as Julius Randle, Lonzo’s former teammate, describes playing with him:

“It’s great. It’s honestly contagious. Honestly, getting up and down, everybody throwing the ball ahead, moving, the fast pace, it’s contagious. So everybody’s really excited when you get on the court with him.”


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This sentiment also attracted comparisons to point guard greats like Magic Johnson, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd. While Lonzo shares many similarities with these players, he has his own unique playing style and offense.

Jason Kidd statistically is very similar to Zo, but of course, J-Kidd was much more aggressive defensively. And that is where the comparisons to Jason Kidd fall short. Jason Kidd was also a lot smaller and less athletic than Lonzo.

For me, the player that Zo best resembles is a younger Rajon Rondo that played with the ’08 Boston Celtics. Lonzo, like when Rondo first entered the NBA, is a smart, pass-first point guard that really seems to bring the best out of his teammates.

Rondo, like Lonzo, got along with veteran players and played well with older stars like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce — this was definitely key to the success of the Celtics during their championship run.

Form his rookie season, Lonzo has progressed greatly; even if his stats do not show it. While Lonzo is averaging fewer points, rebounds, and assists than this season, he is playing much better basketball; but do not tell the analytics people that!

Often, the stats reveal little about a players game or his ability to perform when it really counts. They also ignore how a player performs in various match-ups.


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While Lonzo is doing statistically worse than last season, it’s because veterans like Rondo and LeBron are taking more responsibility away from Lonzo on the court.

However, you can just see that Zo’s ability to execute and play well when it counts has improved miles from last season. Playing with the King has definitely helped in this aspect.

Just last week Lebron and Lonzo became the first duo in over a decade to get a triple-double during the same game since when Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar did it years ago.

Recently Lonzo described his enthusiasm and gratefulness of playing with Lebron saying:

“Ever since he got here, it’s been a dream come true for me. I watched him my whole life — he was my idol growing up. Then we both get a triple-double in the same game. I don’t even know if I dreamed of that before. It was a good day today.”

This is quite contrary to what KD said about players wanting to play with LeBron James recently. Lonzo is definitely one of the most exciting young NBA players to watch and watching his growth this season proves he could be the next elite point guard in the next few years.

However, only time will tell if he will be “better than Stephen Curry” as his father once proclaimed before the 19-year-old ever played an NBA game.

Why are the Rockets so trash this season? Let’s take a look

Last season, the Rockets wrecked the league during the regular season and the playoffs.

Not only did they have the best record in the NBA (ahead of Golden State), but they nearly swept the Jazz and the Timberwolves in the playoffs. They even pushed the Warriors to a game 7 in the Western Conference Finals!

The backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden just proved to me too much for most teams as the duo averaged a combined of 49.4 ppg and 16.7 apg. Counting their combined assists, The two were directly responsible for over 80% of the Rockets’ points!

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Having two elite ball handlers on the floor provided Houston with endless opportunities to score the basketball and made the other players on their roster appear to be elite scores. This combined with the toughness of Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and Luc Mbah a Moute meant the Rockets could compete with any team.

However, this season, the opposite appears to be true. Not only are the Rockets currently out of playoff contention, but they are near the bottom of the Western Conference; ranked 12th behind even the Kings and the Grizzlies! So, what happened?

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The Rockets’ woes, thus far, come from the fact that they have hollowed out their bench after giving James Harden and Chris Paul max contracts. No doubt after James Harden’s MVP season and Chris Paul’s playoff performance, the two deserved to be paid max dollars.

However, this comes with an opportunity cost to what the Houston Rockets organization could do to retain and recruit other players for the 2018-19 season.

From the 2018 season, the Rockets have lost Joe Johnson, Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ryan Anderson, and R.J. Hunger from their roster. These players were not only extremely effective defensively but added offensive prowess to the team as well.

Not only could they guard the three point line, but they were big enough to prevent players from driving into the lane and getting easy baskets.

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The Rockets were never one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, but they at least played average defense. This season, the Rockets are basically letting their opponents score at will. Currently, the Rockets are third from the bottom of the NBA in opponent’s field goal percentage; their opponents, on average, make over 47% of their field goals.

On the offensive end of the court, Joe Johnson, Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ryan Anderson, and R.J. Hunger could also three shoot the three and helped the Rockets spread the floor better.

This created scoring opportunities for Clint Capela, CP3 (who is struggling this season), James Harden, and Houston’s other bench players. For the 2018-19 season, the Rockets literally have the lowest scoring bench in the NBA. Pretty far from where they were this time last season!

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Part of the Rockets’ problem is that the Western Conference has just gotten so competitive this year. 15 out of the 16 teams in the West Conference are good enough to make the playoffs on a normal year. Now teams like the Spurs, Timberwolves, Jazz, and Pelicans are currently out of playoff contention.

Teams such as the Clippers, Grizzlies, Mavericks, and the Kings have made significant improvements from last season and are now playoff contenders. During the offseason, they have added depth to their rosters and drafted good talent to supplement their veteran parts.

However, there still is hope. The Rockets have shown flashes this season where they can beat any team in the NBA including big wins over the Lakers, Grizzlies, Spurs, Blazers, and the Warriors. And let’s not forget that James Harden is still unstoppable, either.

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The Rockets, in my opinion, when healthy are still one of the top 5 teams in the NBA; alongside the Lakers, Warriors, Celtics, and the Nuggets (yes, the Denver Nuggets!).

However, the Rockets are going to have to make significant improvements defensively to make it into the playoffs this season. Just last season, Houston went on 17-game winning streak and I still believe they are capable of something similar this season.

This is definitely going to be something interesting to watch as the season continues to unfold and we get closer to the playoffs!

Is KD a LeBron hater? What his comments really say about the King

It is not hard to find a LeBron hater or lover these days — you’re either one or the other. Personally, he is my favorite player and I love what he brings to the game.

Nearly all players, coaches, and fans have their opinion about every aspect of his style of play, career, and life. There is no doubt that LeBron brings a certain gravity to the NBA and commands the attention of everybody that is associated with the sport.

Recently, Kevin Durant, who needs no introduction, made his opinion known about playing with LeBron. KD made the following comments about LeBron and potential players that he could play with next year in LA to the Bleacher Report saying,

“If you’re a younger player like a Kawhi, trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn’t really make sense. Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it’s how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don’t need another guy.”

And KD goes even further:

“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people. He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic. Especially when the attention is bullshit attention, fluff. It’s not LeBron’s fault at all; it’s just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball.”

Pretty harsh, right? Is KD a LeBron hater? Not sure, I love KD too. While some might argue that KD has undoubtedly tainted LeBron’s legacy with his move to the Golden State Warriors, I do not think that is the case.

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LeBron’s battles with Golden State has been one for the ages even before KD got there. It has further elevated his game and showed the level he is capable of playing at when called upon; most great players are never put through such a test. Even before the move to Golden State, KD and LeBron had been going at it their entire career.

Their competitive fervor is reminiscent of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s rivalry. Both players are out of this world talented and all-world basketball players on both ends of the floor.

LeBron, however, has shown something KD has not; he can lead a team and carry the load as a leader. And, most importantly, that you can build a championship team around him. And LeBron, in return, has certainly given KD something to shoot for and was, undoubtedly, the driving factor behind his move to Golden State.

Some could even argue that Golden State has a superteam developed to combat LeBron’s reign in the NBA Finals.

While LeBron does command an excess amount of media attention, I disagree with his conclusion that other players may not want to play with him. LeBron has played with, and gotten along with, multiple all-stars in the past, on multiple teams; and with great success in many instances. In the past, this has not been an issue for LeBron.

But, what about Kyrie? LeBron and Kyrie had their beef and this lead to the demise of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving wanted to be the first option and wanted to have his own team. That’s finally what he got in Boston… kind of.

Clearly, he did not want to lead the Cavaliers once LeBron left. While this situation does mirror what KD was saying, let’s not forget that LeBron got along well with D-Wade, Chris Bosh, and Kevin Love — all of which will be Hall of Famers one day.

They have nothing but good things to say about playing with LeBron and they enjoyed their time playing with him. LeBron seems to play well with low key All-Stars that are interested in winning and less interested in the limelight. After all, LeBron has made it to the Finals for the last eight straight years.

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So, does LeBron really need multiple All-Stars around him to win? The answer to that is, emphatically, no.  What does this mean for the Lakers moving forward?

The Lakers this past offseason lost out on Paul George because they pursued and signed LeBron James. Some marquee free agents such as Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard may not want to play for the Lakers with all of the drama surrounding LeBron

However harsh that may sound, it is not a sunset for the Lakers organization. As long as the young Laker talent drafted by Magic Johnson continues to develop, LA will be competitive for years to come.

And despite all of the narratives around him, LeBron remains stapled to the game.

Grading the Jimmy Butler trade: What it means for the NBA

The Timberwolves made one of the biggest trades of the year when they gave up All-Star Jimmy Butler and forward Justin Patton to Philadelphia for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick.

Robert Covington and Dario Saric are decent role players in the regular season, however, in the 2017 playoffs, they fell short offensively and defensively. It was time for Philly to make a statement and Butler officially puts them over the top.

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The 76ers new starting lineup of Jimmy Butler, JJ Reddick, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz will be dynamite. Most teams do not rely on their bench in the playoffs and only play seven players deep.

Therefore, the 76ers losing depth should not hurt them too much in the playoffs.

The Good

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Jimmy Butler will bring solid veteran leadership to the 76ers. This will significantly complement and help the growth of Joel Embiid. This is what supposedly LeBron was to supposed to bring the 76ers before they fell short of successfully recruiting him. The Sixers with Jimmy Butler might make a serious run this offseason.

Likely, the 76ers will have to face the Raptors at some point in the playoffs where  Butler and Kawhi Leonard will make a solid match-up in the offseason.

Last time the 76ers played the Raptors this season, they got demolished, and they had no answer for Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi dropped 31 points in 34 minutes and shut-down Robert Covington.

Jimmy Butler is an outstanding defender, and he can help to decelerate Kahwi on the offensive side of the floor. Moreover, Jimmy Butler is a stalworth offensive player and will make Kawhi play defense. This will help to tire him out.

Last year, the 76ers got routed and almost swept by the Boston Celtics. They had no answer for Jalen Brown or Jayson Tatum; however, neither did any other team. Jimmy Butler is a good enough defender to help the 76ers stop these two juggernauts.

Jimmy Butler is such a dynamic player that he can fit into any offensive and defensive system. The 76ers are top 4 in the league in the number of assists per game, and their offense seems to revolve around moving the basketball.

In addition to being a great scorer, Jimmy Butler is a good passer as well and can help move the ball around. Moreover, having another scorer on the floor means that opponents will not be able to double team Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons as easily; creating more scoring opportunities for them.

The Bad

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Jimmy Butler’s health has been called into question by some teams and he is aging. Whether or not Butler will be able to perform the way he did in past seasons remains to be seen.

If the 76ers want to retain Jimmy Buckets, they are going to have to give him a max deal this offseason, making it difficult for them to sign other marquee free agents in the future. Moreover, Robert Covington and Dario Saric are young players and are still developing.

There could have been vital assets for the 76ers moving forward. However, Robert Covington and Dario Saric are now playing in the Western Conference and not for a rival team! Therefore, the 76ers will not have to face them in the playoffs.

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This deal, however, is a big step forward for Philly. They now have the components to keep up with the Celtics and the Raptors. And if Jimmy Butler does not perform well, they have a movable piece that they can use to get other talented players this offseason.

In reality, the 76ers have added an extremely attractive piece to their arsenal. And Jimmy Butler is known for his competitive spirit and wanting to win; this should be an interesting season!

Trust the process: 3 things the Lakers still need to do to beat Golden State

LeBron’s move to the Lakers represents a cataclysmic shift in the NBA. The Lakers’ moves this offseason puts them much closer to a championship in the near future. But just how much more do they need to really put it all together?

With just 44 days until their season tips off against the Blazers, the Los Angeles franchise is gearing up for one of their biggest seasons ever, even considering their storied legacy.

Their new players bring veteran leadership, defensive, toughness, consistency, and grit to this young Lakers team. However, this is not the only move that the Lakers need to make to beat Golden State. Below are the steps that the Lakers need to take to dethrone the Warriors.

Develop young Lakers

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The success and future of the Lakers depend on the development of its young players. Currently, on their roster, they have six players 25 and under that have shown real signs that they could be great parts on a championship team. Caldwell-Pope, Gary Payton II, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball.

If these players can develop into essential components the way that Boston developed its young players last season or the way the Spurs/Raptors have continued to develop their draft picks, then the Lakers have a real shot at beating Golden State in the future.

The Spurs and Raptors have built great teams through the draft and by developing players into their roles. Their players haven’t individually been the top talent in the NBA over the years, however, they are perfect for their roles on the offensive end of the floor and play strong defense.

If these young Lakers can mature into their roles, the Lakers have a real shot of beating Golden State.

Acquire Kawhi Leonard

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Some players make their name through flashy showmanship or by off the chart statistics, Kawhi Leonard on the other hand, does it by performing in the postseason, being efficient, and by playing great defense. Kawhi Leonard is Scottie Pippen/James Worthy 2.0. In the playoffs, he takes his game to the next level.

This was showcased in 2014, at the age of 22, when he won Finals MVP on a team with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili when they beat Lebron’s Miami Heat.

Kawhi may be the only player that can keep up with Kevin Durant and defend against him. The Spurs had great success against Golden State before they got Kevin Durant because of Kawhi Leonard’s leadership, by playing excellent defense, and by functioning as a unit offensively.

Kawhi is the perfect complement to LeBron, Rondo, and the rest of the Lakers. He is efficient offensively, he can catch and shoot, relishes playing his role, is not ball dominant, and is the best defensive player in the League. Also, he is all about winning and does not try to hog the spotlight.

Kawhi Leonard is also young and can take over the Lakers from Lebron as he ages. He could be the new leader of the Lakers and soon be the face of the franchise. He is the best player that the Lakers should invest in for the future of the franchise.

The Lakers need to improve defensively and play as a unit

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The Houston Rockets were able to challenge Golden State in the playoffs because they outhustled them and they played sensational defense. Unlike most teams, they were not afraid to challenge Golden State and to get in their face.

Moreover, Chris Paul was able to help Houston function as a unit offensively and was the moral leader of the team. This was essential in pushing Golden State to a game.

Last season, the Lakers struggle defensively. They demonstrate offensive firepower, however, they lacked unity offensively and struggled defensively

However, the Veteran players they acquired should fix these problems. And above all, Rondo will help the team function as an offensive unit and unlock the potential in these young players. Moreover, these Rondo and these new Veteran players will force the Young players to compete for playing time and help them develop in Practice.

The Lakers could play Lebron, Javale Mcgee, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Caldwell Pope, and Michael Beasley as a six man and still have great success. Every position is now competitive on the Lakers team.

The Lakers because of their depth will also be able to give their players adequate resting time; something that Golden State has enjoyed in the past. However, no team can still compete with Golden State’s talent and shooting capability.

However, teams in the past have shown that they can play better defense, have a deeper bench, and can function better as a unit on the offensive end than Golden State.

This strategy will give the Lakers the best shot at beating Golden State.