It is a rare thing to combine the amount of star power that the Lakers will have in 2021-22 so quickly. The Lakers have been busy from the addition of LeBron back in 2018, then Anthony Davis only a year later in 2019 and finally adding Russell Westbrook this summer. However, the Lakers lucked out that these three superstars were set on LA for their next destinations. There is plenty to work out as far as who will run the offense the most. Whether it’s LeBron facilitating the offense, AD scoring 25 a night, or Russ getting a nightly triple-double, all are options. Will it work for LA? Let’s check it out.
Russ, AD And LeBron Won’t Mesh Well
The Lakers showed in their 2020 title run that LeBron and AD work well as a pair. They had a supporting cast that did their job but let LeBron and AD run the show. Now in 2021-22, the Laker duo will share the floor with Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is a nightly triple-double but likes to score a lot and I am concerned that he won’t mesh well with LBJ and AD.
Unless Westbrook is willing to sacrifice even more scoring to share the workload with this veteran-filled roster, it might not work well. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions far too soon, but I just do not see Russ’s abilities meshing well with LeBron’s court presence and AD’s scoring.
Too Many Veteran Players
The Lakers also made it obvious they wanted veteran bench depth in 2021. LA picked up guys like Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and a few others. The problem with that much veteran depth is I think they will get worn down by midseason. Having a youthful bench helps in preserving the veteran players for later in the year. I think if LA does not manage their veteran players correctly, they will break down midseason. Does that mean it is guaranteed to happen? Not, but it should be something LA has on the back of their mind pretty much until they are holding the title next April/June.
Who Is Calling The Shots?
Much like the issue of the superstars meshing well, it raises the question of who’s offense is this? What I mean is who is running the offense? Is this Russ’s show to run or LeBron’s show or even AD’s show? This is probably my main concern with this star-powered offense. Finding the opportunities to get all three guys involved heavily but also preserve them for the entire season and not burn them out.
I think this is and always will be LeBron’s team no matter who he is sharing the ball with. I would not want anyone except LeBron to run the offense but maybe LA can find a way for Russ to facilitate and LeBron can return to his high volume scoring days. Again, it could be good or bad that the Lakers have this many options on offense.
Having veteran depth can be a double-edged sword in the NBA. The good side is you have plenty of experience in knowing how to chain together wins and perform when it matters. The bad side is they can most definitely tire out and get outrun even by midseason. Both sides have equal chances of occurring but that is a risk LA is taking.
Adding veteran scorers like Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore, and Wayne Ellington creates depth for sure, but how long will that last? Only time will tell if this Laker team can go the distance with all of these “old guys”, but I would bet these are some of the best “old guys” in the NBA; good luck stopping them.
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