The Los Angeles Lakers have been blessed with talent. The team is the equivalent of the New York Yankees of baseball and the Dallas Cowboys in football. When you look back at history, the team owns a rich tradition of spectacular players that range from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Magic Johnson to Shaq and Kobe Bryant.
Since 2018, the LeBron James era has been pleasant. Two playoff appearances in three seasons, including the 2020 championship. With a new addition of Russell Westbrook, the team will be leading contenders for the NBA championship this year. With that said, all great players that come to Los Angeles come with a cost, may it be money or compensation.
With a fair amount of talent going in and out of Los Angeles in the last three years, it made us think back to as far as 2014. What if salaries didn’t cost this team to ship away some of their depth? What if this team was able to recoup all the great players in the last seven years and make a super team. There’s a good chance this team would go 82-0. What do you think?
Guard - Russell Westbrook (2021-Present)
The newest addition to the team will be the starting point guard for the 2021-2022 season, but also this team as well. Westbrook is coming off his fourth season where he averaged a triple-double. When Westbrook won the MVP in 2017, he was the first player to average a triple-double for a season since Oscar Robertson. Now, he is playing for his fourth team in four seasons (Thunder, Rockets, Wizards, Lakers).
Regardless of the baggage that comes with Westbrook, he is an elite player. If he owns up to his word that he is willing to put aside his ego and play to win a title, this upcoming Lakers team will be legit. Even if he never wins a championship, he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but it’s always nice to have a championship ring on your finger when you get inducted.
Forward - Brandon Ingram (2016-2019)
With this lineup, the Lakers will only have one true guard on the roster. To start our three forward starting rotation, we take a look at Brandon Ingram. When the Lakers drafted Ingram No. 2 overall in 2016, many believed that he had the talent to be the next Kevin Durant. While those skills never translated in Los Angeles, he showed his true potential in New Orleans by making an All-Star appearance in 2020.
Ingram was the 2020 Most Improved Player when he averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He was a key part of the deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Ingram knows how to score, so if he was a stretch two, the Lakers would have a great problem to have.
Forward - LeBron James (2018-Present)
What else can you say about the four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP? LeBron is a winner in Miami (two times), Cleveland, and Los Angeles. He is the clear No. 2 greatest player of all time and is making strides at overtaking Michael Jordan as the GOAT. In this lineup, James can play his natural position at small forward.
LeBron led the league in assists in 2020, so he could play point guard if he wanted. He has led the league in scoring, so he could be a shooting guard. He is an MVP at small forward. He can play power forward or center. Either way, the Lakers are going to be just fine as long as LeBron is on the floor.
Forward - Julius Randle (2014-2018)
The most likely candidate for power forward is Julius Randle. When Randle played in Los Angeles, he never really developed. Randle turned out to be one of those players that needed to leave to improve. He had some success in New Orleans, but he found his niche in New York where he recorded his first All-Star appearance.
Randle is a true defensive threat and a true point forward. Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists for the Knicks. In this lineup. He would have plenty of people that can score. His passing is among the best at the power forward position, so this starting rotation would feature three elite passers.
Center - Anthony Davis (2019-Present)
The first year of Lebron and AD produced a championship. The second year was trifled with injuries and a first-round playoff exit. All we know at this point is that as long as both players are healthy, these are the best duo in the NBA. With All-Star players in Westbrook, Ingram, LeBron, and Randle, who knows how great this team could be?
Defensively, Davis is one of the best big man periods. Paired with Randle, this team would feature one of the best frontcourts in the league. With Davis as the anchor, it would be really difficult for teams to score on the Lakers.
Rajon Rondo (2018-2020)
Playoff Rondo is a real thing. When Rondo plays in the postseason, he brings out the best of himself and the team. Rondo, a two-time champion with the Celtics and Lakers, is a four-time All-Defensive selection, has led the league in assists three times, and once led the league in steals.
Having Rondo as the backup point guard would allow Westbrook to get some much-needed rest, but also allow the team to run a deadly offense. Rondo also is one of the most respected players in the league. Playing with a group of veterans, Rondo would be a vocal leader, one that many on this team would respect.
Lonzo Ball (2017-2019)
Ball was another piece included in the trade for Anthony Davis. Ball is coming off his best season in New Orleans where he averaged 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. His defensive game grew to a whole new level, while his overall shooting percentages were among the highest in his career.
Similar to Ingram, Ball saw his best success when he left the Lakers. Now that he is considered a veteran, Ball has grown as a player and person. Ball would be potentially one of the best defenders on this team. Pairing Ball with Randle and Davis would make this one tough defensive unit.
D’Angelo Russell (2015-2017)
Had D’Angelo Russell not sold out Nick Young, we might have seen Russell a part of future successful Laker teams. Since LeBron came to town, the team has cycled through point guard. Instead, Russell has bounced around the Nets, Warriors, and Timberwolves.
Regardless, the 2019 All-Star owns a career average of 17.6 points, 5.3 assists, and 1.1 steals. Whoever coaches this team would have a tough time dividing minutes between Westbrook, Rondo, and Russell. Still, the 25-year old can score, pass, and produce at a high level.
Jordan Clarkson (2014-2018)
Clarkson played through some bad Lakers teams when he first entered the league. Clarkson went through three tough seasons, including the end of the Kobe Bryant era, but played in the NBA Finals with LeBron during his final season with Cleveland. After that, Clarkson was packaged to the Utah Jazz, where he grew to become the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year.
Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points this last season. He showed Lou Williams numbers when he played, including a career-high 42 points in February. Clarkson can provide guard depth for a starting lineup that is lacking in guards.
Kyle Kuzma (2017-2021)
Kuzma once averaged over 18.0 points per game when he was a starter for the Lakers. When the Lakers acquired players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma’s role became a player off the bench. In the end, it worked out for Kuzma as he won a championship in 2020.
With that said, Kuzma is coming off a season where he led the Lakers in three-point field goals (137). At 26 years old, Kuzma has plenty of prime years left. Kuzma was included in the package that sent Westbrook from Washington to Los Angeles. Kuzma was a very productive bench player with starting talent, and he would bring similar traits from his previous seasons to this Laker team.
Brook Lopez (2017-2018)
Lopez was traded to the Lakers, along with Kuzma, for Russell and Timofey Mozgov in 2017. It’s one of the most lopsided trades we have seen in the last decade. Russell did make one All-Star appearance, but Lopez was the all-time leading scorer in Brooklyn when he left. After Los Angeles, Lopez helped the Bucks win their first championship since 1971.
When Lopez played in Los Angeles, he averaged 13.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. The team was not very good, but with this lineup, he could play like the player that owns four seasons of at least 20.0 points per game or more.
Dwight Howard (2019-2020)
This is how deep this team would be if Howard is your 12th man on the bench. Howard, a seven-time All-Star from 2007-2014, is a former Defensive Player of the Year. He was a critical bench piece for the Lakers when the team won a championship in 2020. Even though Howard is not the same player as his prime years back in Orlando, Los Angeles (first stint with Kobe Bryant), and Houston, he is an impact player that can still bring a team to victory.
Howard wouldn’t need to play big minutes for this team, but he is defensive insurance. If a team needs a stop, they can play Howard in spurts. Heck, the team could play Howard at the center and allow Davis to switch to power forward. Howard has set into his new role of a role player and that only makes this team deeper at the end of the day.