The Lakers’ roster makeover across the last eight months has been dramatic. Heading into training camp last season, the roster was very flawed and in need of a shake-up.
It took quite a while for that change to come, but starting in February, Rob Pelinka and the front office have made nearly wholesale changes and almost all of them have been for the better. The end result was not just a Western Conference Finals appearance but a team set up for the future.
The team secured the bulk of the core that helped them make the deep playoff run to multi-year deals and have fully committed to the new-look team. And for good reason.
It’s a very talented team that is one of the best in the league. If you ask Austin Reaves, as Zach Lowe did on his latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, they’re the most talented team in the league.
“We brought in a lot of guys that are super talented. I would argue that we probably have the most talented in the league from top to bottom. Getting Christian Wood on a minimum, Gabe [Vincent] coming from a Finals appearance, we have a lot of guys that are super talented. Like I said, just getting this time to really build a foundation with one another is going to help us a lot.”
It’s not even that outlandish of a statement, even if it causes some eyebrows to raise. Specifically, he’s saying that on paper they’re the most talented, which actually may not even be all that arguable.
Denver is obviously the defending champions and the best team in the league and no one is arguing that. But they aren’t all that deep or talented on paper, particularly after losing Bruce Brown in free agency, and instead a bunch of pieces that complement each other perfectly.
The Warriors are a top-heavy team with four Hall of Famers, but the drop-off is pretty severe to the back end of their roster. Phoenix is in the same boat with perhaps even more extremes.
The Clippers have typically been one of the favorites in this category but no one is believing them anymore. In the other conference, the Celtics and Bucks actually likely have the biggest arguments in the league for the claim Reaves made. Each has superstars surrounded by other stars and a deep roster.
Instead of diving into the arguments of who is the most talented, though, it’s better to acknowledge Reaves’ comments as being fair and what that means for this season for the Lakers. It’s been many, many seasons since they could argue as having the most talented roster.
That doesn’t equate to automatically being a title contender and the Lakers are going to have hurdles to navigate. But it doesn’t put the team in a terrific starting position and in a spot to win another banner.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.