Now that LeBron James, the best player in the world, is with the LA Lakers expectations for the Purple and Gold have obviously dramatically increased. From only winning 35 games last year, they are expected to win at least 45 and should be winning 50 plus.
LeBron is the greatest team player in the league and makes everyone around him better. He also holds you to the highest standard in the league which will be great for the young players like Brandon Ingram, Kuzma and Lonzo Ball.
The other additions to the Lakers like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee make it a bit unclear as to what the Lakers starting lineup will be. I am going to try and guess their top 5 guys and also describe what each player should do in order to maximize his efficiency out on the floor thus earning the Lakers more wins.
Point Guard – Rajon Rondo
I have felt for a while now that Rondo is hugely underrated. He was so valued in Boston because he was surrounded with the right pieces and he had the freedom to call plays on the floor.
He has never been a good shooter but he is an excellent passer, defender and driver. He would excel as the joint-primary ball-handler with LeBron James. He needs to push the tempo and feed the lanes with the athletic wings that the Lakers have.
Point guard penetration in the NBA is extremely dangerous as that is when the team’s best playmaker is in the paint causing havoc. Rondo needs to focus on defense so that the top of the Laker’s defense is as solid as a rock.
Shooting Guard – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
With the driving abilities of Rondo and LeBron, it is imperative that there is enough floor space for those 2 players to be effective. This requires 3 point shooting which is where KCP comes in. He shot 38.3% from beyond the arc last season which is pretty good. He needs to start hitting at least 40% of his triples from now on. He should find this easier than before given the gravity that players like LeBron and Rondo have.
KCP needs to find the prime spot-up positions on the floor and always be ready for a drive and kick. He needs to be automatic with his trigger and should look for the 3 whenever he’s on the floor. Good shooting and driving compliment each other so well on offense and KCP has a chance to show his true marksman skills.
Small Forward – Brandon Ingram
Now is the time for Ingram to prove to everyone that the comparisons to Kevin Durant were not out of question. He has the right frame and his skill set, but he needs to be more assertive. He should be the 2nd top scorer for the Lakers and should aim to score over 20 points a night.
He should attack from multiple positions; on the fast-break, spotting up and attacking the rim. He has the playmakers around him and now he has the incentive to step his game up a notch. He has the potential to be an All-Star in the future and this season is the perfect platform from which to launch his career.
Power Forward – LeBron James
Even though LeBron is nearly 34 he lead the league in minutes for the past 2 seasons. This is because he was the only good playmaker for the Cavs and so they hugely suffered when he wasn’t on the floor.
Not he has Rajon and Lonzo Ball who are both great playmakers with him. This gives LeBron much more opportunity to rest and play great defense. I would like to see LeBron to play around 30 minutes a game from now on and when he’s on the floor focus more of defense. He will, of course, be the best passer in the league like he has been for the past decade. He needs to trust his younger teammates and let them feed of his gravity. He doesn’t need to score, he just needs to make plays and score efficiently.
Center – JaVale Mcgee
It appears that McGee is no longer making a routine appearance on Shaqtin A Fool. He has matured impressively over the past 2 years thanks to his tenure with the Warriors. He should build on this and become a solid starting center in the NBA.
He has the physical tools to play like DeAndre Jordan; he can run the floor like a deer, he defends the rim tenacity and can rebound ferociously. He needs to find his shots among the offense through pick and rolls, lobs and put-backs.
If he can do this and not make too many bone-headed plays then he can be extremely effective for the Lakers this season.
Sixth Man – Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball
Kuzma could win the 6th Man of the Year if he plays his cards right. He has great size, athleticism and a good shooting stroke. He needs to come in off the bench and play with extremely high energy.
Lonzo Ball has somewhat falling down the pecking-order with Rondo and LeBron coming to town. He is a great playmaker and if he can hit a few more 3s this season will give the Lakers another potent weapon to bring off the bench.