In the next two weeks, the Armchair crew will be taking on the NBA Regular Season preview. We will be taking on each team individually and looking into what to expect from each.
Past Record: 21-61
Key Additions: D’Angelo Russell, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Brandon Bass
Key Losses: Ed Davis
There is a very disturbing air around the Lakers. For once, it seems, at least on paper, that the team has some sort of direction. In Russell, Randle and Clarkson they have amassed a young core that can step forward. Unfortunately no one has shown that paper to Jim Buss.
The reality is that this team should be headed in an entirely different direction than it actually is. Byron Scott will be under directive to win and win now, which means less Randle and more Bass with Lou Williams also stealing touches from either Russell or Clarkson on any given night. Scott is also very poor evaluating that he has the wrong personnel for his schemes.
The biggest issue for the Lakers at the end of the day will be ball movement. When your roster houses Swaggy P, Lou Williams and Kobe, the only way to ensure enough touches for everyone is to introduce a multiple basketballs provision into the rulebook. Since that is not happening, Lakers are in the threat of plays dying out before they even started, with Russell the only legit distributor on this team.
While Hibbert makes this team tougher defensively, he will clog up offensive spacing, which can affect slashers like Nick Young and Clarkson, the players that feasted on open space to the rim. Nor does he posses a refined enough post game to make him a threat offensively. This is a team that will see a lot of possessions die with dribble out shots by a variety of ball heavy guys the roster.
Which is sad because the best thing the Lakers can do is let the young guns gel with a lot of playing time, bottom out, and hope for a top 3 pick in the lottery, starting their rebuild for real with Kobe’s mammoth of a contract of the books (and Hibbert’s sizable salary). Instead, we’re going to get a lot of one on one iso plays, cramped up floor spacing and overplaying guys like Bass.
The most intriguing story facing this squad will be whether or not Jeannie Buss steps in to relieve her brother of his duties before the season is over or after. Nothing warms my heart like a real inter-sibling rivalry for control of a major sports franchise.