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
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
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
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.