After three years of begging the Los Angeles Lakers to surround LeBron James with shooting, I find myself incredibly interested in what that might finally look like this season, as Rob Pelinka obviously made a big splash in trading for Russell Westbrook, but from there on out focused heavily on role players who space the floor.
So, this week in “The Lakers Lounge,” Harrison and I tried to focus on what we think this roster is, rather than focus so heavily on who isn’t on it — as painful as that might be.
Clearly, the Lakers went out and sought some combination of players who can finish plays that James and Westbrook create (Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, etc.) and also guys who don’t need to be spoon fed those opportunities (Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn). It’s a fascinating way to compile a roster, but also an approach necessitated by James’ (and even Westbrook’s) ages.
Zooming out even further, this is a much more offensive-minded roster than any of those in the James-Anthony Davis era. Frank Vogel has always preferred defensive-minded players and, to that point, the Lakers have had success being bigger, stronger and faster as they suffocated teams defensively. This season, the approach seems to be to defend just enough and overwhelm teams with offensive production, and both Harrison and I are excited to see what that looks like.
We discussed all that, as well as a few lineups we’re really looking forward to seeing out there together, plus some running theories on how the Lakers might fill out the last few roster spots.
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