The Los Angeles Lakers just came off the worst season they’ve had expectation-wise since 2012-2013. The Lakers had high expectations going into the 2021-2022 season and fell way short of that.
Missing the playoffs and falling 16 games under .500 is disastrous for a team who was expected to at least make the finals this past season.
Going into the 2022-2023 season however, the bar for the Lakers isn’t set that high. In fact, many basketball pundits don’t have the Lakers making it too far into the postseason. One LA Insider is not expecting the Lakers to win a title this upcoming season.
No, I don’t believe the Lakers, as currently constructed, can win a championship. I think they can certainly make the playoffs, but I expect them to be a bottom-tier playoff team if Westbrook is on the roster and playing (somewhere in the No. 6 to No. 9-seed range). If we compare their supporting cast to other top West teams, they fall significantly short.
LA Insider, Jovan Buha has a point. Even healthy, we’ve seen the trio of Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James and it wasn’t pretty. In 21 games, the big three went 11-10 in their time on the court together. With new head coach, Darvin Ham, that could change, but it’s still a question mark on whether he could find a way for the trio to work.
There was no big free agent on the market this off-season and the front office didn’t make no splash worthy move with the players available to sign in free agency. The Lakers went younger, but they didn’t get better.
Now, this could all change if the Lakers are able to pull off a trade with the Brooklyn Nets and land star Kyrie Irving. Even though you might have some personnel issues with Irving, you know he would fit with AD and LeBron. With his ability to play off-ball and catch and shoot, he fits perfectly with James.
James and Irving won an NBA Championship as co-stars with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. To be able to see a reunion in LA LA Land would be something special and would definitely shift the needle in regard to LA’s title odds. Irving comes with a lot of baggage off the court, but on the court there’s no question of his overall skill and talent.