The Los Angeles Lakers have made their first chess move this offseason by trading most of their young core for Anthony Davis. Now that they have Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma together and one max slot available along with a bunch of open roster spots, they have to work to build a superteam.
The Warriors are breaking apart and the future of the Western Conference is in limbo. The Lakers chance to strike is now well LeBron is still playing and healthy. Here is a 3 step process for how the Lakers can become the best team in all of basketball.
1. Jimmy Butler Is Priority #1
The modern-day NBA is all about wings in that 6’7 to 6’10 range that can guard multiple positions. The ability to have switchable wings with the versatility to anchor your defense is invaluable. Jimmy Butler wants to play with LeBron James. Butler has done a phenomenal job at his most recent stop of being the anchor and verbal commander of their team.
I think LeBron needs someone to call him out sometimes. Butler would easily be the strongest voice in that locker room because he wouldn’t have it another way. Butler might call out LeBron on his inability to hit free throws in crunch time or his defensive shortcomings as of late.
We have already seen the Kyrie-LeBron pairing. It was successful, but running in back in a tougher Western Conference is not a recommendation. Butler adds something unique to the Lakers. A wing that can guard up to 4 positions. Butler brings defensive energy and hustle. The likes of which Irving cannot provide because he’s too inconsistent defensively.
2. DeMarcus Cousins And AD Chemistry
Did we just forget about the fact that arguably the two best big men in basketball when healthy played together? It was in New Orleans with the Pelicans. They developed great chemistry, but they did not get to play with each other as much due to injuries including Cousins torn Achilles. Cousins is still getting his feet back under him.
There is no way this guy gets a max level deal this summer. The Lakers only have five guaranteed contracts on the roster. The five players are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Isaac Bonga, and Moritz Wagner. Ten plausible roster spots the Lakers should be active as bodybuilders in a gym.
I believe the Lakers need to look past what Cousins are not and focus on what he can bring to the table. A skilled big man that can shoot with range, great playmaker, solid screen setter, and can play off Anthony Davis. His attitude problems felt like they were left at the door after his tenure with the Pelicans. He is not emotional, I will not even finish the phrase. Tweet on that critics.
3. Get A Reliable PG, No Need To Overspend
Ultimately, LeBron is going to need to be a point forward in order for this team to have success. There is always a plausibility that you can play the King out of position. LeBron can play all five positions. The Heat have played him at the point before as have the Cavs. Probably would rack up triple doubles and w’s.
Picture a lineup with James at the point, Jimmy Butler returning to the SG position, Kuzma on the wing, and a 4-5 combo of Cousins and AD. This could be the most dangerous lineup in basketball. I have a firm belief good players or great players can figure out how to play winning basketball.
The other option is to find a point guard who can play off the ball. Similar, to a guy a Mario Chalmers or Mo Williams type. A guard who spaces the floor well and stays out of LeBron’s way. This guard should still have the ability to run an offense if needed too in the event James’ body cannot hold up. Some suggestions from me would be Derrick Rose or Darren Collison if you can convince them of a pay cut. Malcolm Brogdon would fit the best in my opinion, but some team might max the guy out of desperation.
This should be for an NBA fan. It reminds me of when the Celtics did a major overhaul to their roster and were only left with 4 players that played together in Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford. The same team went on to fill out their roster and made a run at the conference finals. Change is inevitable and building greatness is not done with one move. Lakers follow these three steps and we believe they’ll be the best team in the NBA. I will warn that with an aging LeBron James any window for success is likely short, but it can be sweet too.