The Lakers got Russell Westbrook.
Let me say that again: the Lakers got Russell FREAKING Westbrook.
They got a reliable defensive big.
They replaced their guard core.
They got a proven bench scorer.
They added range.
They retained one prospect and added another (draft notwithstanding).
And they did it all in salary cap hell.
Sounds like a GREAT off-season...but I feel like I should be more fired up.
First off, let's address the 2 billion pound elephant in the room: yes, this is an old ass team. Not just in general, but at key positions/roles:
- top 4 scorers' average age will hit 34 by end of season
- both centers are over 35 now
- only 1 F (small and power) under age 32
- 2nd best player still in his prime
- only 2 G (point and shooting) over age 32
- could have 4 guys under 32 in their 8-man rotation
- Outside of Westbrook, the Lakers only picked up one current NBA starter - Nunn. The other guys are bench players at this point in their careers, either unproven or past their primes.
- The Lakers young players are all REALLY raw. I know that sounds redundant, but I mean REALLY REALLY raw: two have never set foot on an NBA court and it's still not clear what we have in the other two - they could be 10-year NBA starters....or they could be 10-year NBA rotation players. Still, the Lakers may be relying on one (or more) for big minutes...are they up to the task?
- Defense. Edmonton Oiler netminder Grant Fuhr once said, "It doesn't matter how many goals you give up, just don't give up the big goal". Kinda feel like that will be the Lakers' defensive mantra this year. They don't have to get every stop, but will they be able to get the big stop? How will they handle elite guard play? Who will cover the perimeter?
- Half Court Offense. Lakers Achilles' heel last season. The new shooters will help, but seemed like a systemic issue from the outside looking in, and the "system administrator" hasn't changed.