By Brandon Easler
The Lakers are a very interestingly constructed team to say the least. When LeBron chose to go there during free agency, it was assumed that another big name was going to be going there with him. As we all know, it did not turn out this way. What the Lakers got instead were an unusual collaboration of NBA talent. To go along with their young core of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart they added some savvy vets in the likes of Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson. LeBron coined this quartet the MUD- misunderstood, under-appreciated, and determined. Now, this group could help take his game to a whole new level.
LeBron has always tried to surround himself with great shooters, for example Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Kyrie, Kyle Korver, and J.R. Smith. This current Lakers team is not built in the same way. Instead of veteran shooters, Magic Johnson signed veteran playmakers and defenders. I feel like this tactic could work to the Lakers and LeBron’s advantage because this is an effort to try something new against the Warriors. The Warriors will almost always be able to outscore an opponent, so why not try to add in some players to make them exert more effort mentally and physically on defense with rim attacking shot creators.
I feel like these players will help take pressure off of LeBron on the offensive end which will allow him to conserve his energy for later in games. As evidenced by LeBron’s Cavaliers team last year, he cannot single handedly get a team past the Warriors by doing it all himself. When he heads to the bench someone has got to be able to either set up other players for shots or get their own shots. Rajon Rondo is one of the best and most creative passers in the league, Lance can create his own shot off the dribble (although not always the best shot selection) as can Michael Beasley, and JaVale is a constant threat to catch a lob around the basket.
I believe this unlikely quartet of veterans will be able to supplement LeBron and the young talent very well. As long as they don’t try and do too much and just stay within their skill-set then this team could challenge the Warriors and Rockets in the West. However, if they end up not meshing well together then expect to see some trades made at the deadline if they are still in the playoff picture. Also, all of these contracts are for one year so if they do not perform as well as planned the Lakers will just simply let all 4 walk in free agency to clear up cap room for bigger names.
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