Sometimes the Lakers make it really easy to meme them. In fact, in recent years, it’s been remarkably simple.
As the team has battled a number of injuries throughout the last two seasons, the feeling of an incomplete team has existed inside and around the team. It’s led to many jokes about the season not starting until [x] player returns or how this team can’t be judged until [x] player returns.
In basically every situation the last two seasons, the Lakers were so clearly flawed that the return of a role player or two wasn’t going to make a difference. And yet, here we stand with the Lakers holding a 3-10 record, two role players in Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant are set to return and the front office reportedly set to wait before making any decisions on roster moves, according to a recent report from longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein in his latest newsletter (emphasis mine).
The Lakers have indeed looked at free agents for a potential in-season roster boost — first Moe Harkless and more recently Joe Wieskamp and Tony Snell — but the sense I got after spending the past week in L.A. is that their preference is to wait for the returns of Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant before making judgments that could lead to changes. The Lakers have high hopes that Schröder in particular can give the offense a boost after both he and Bryant sustained thumb injuries during the preseason that required surgery. Lonnie Walker IV, who had 25 points in Sunday’s win over the Nets in Walker’s latest hopeful showing, spoke after the win about the Lakers finally having their “full team” Friday when they emerge from a four-day break to play host to Detroit. Schröder, Bryant and LeBron James, who missed the past two games due to his adductor strain, are all expected to play against the Pistons.
You really can’t make this up.
The Lakers are certainly not whole as a team. Schröder and Bryant are useful rotation players that will likely improve the Lakers. The gulf between where the Lakers are now and being even a good team is not bridged with the return of those two, though.
And now, after starting 3-10, the Lakers aren’t in a spot where they can be patient and wait to make a potential change. But because they’re the Lakers and are seemingly insistent on stacking the deck against themselves, they appear ready to continue waiting.
Now, the counter-argument to all this is that there isn’t any deal specifically available to them right now that seems like a no-brainer. The process matters though, and it feels a bit silly to wait and not actively pursue a trade just to see if another guard and a role-playing center drastically change the outlook of this team.
If nothing else, the Lakers are committed to being meme-able and considering how bad they’ve been, at least they’re giving us that.