The Los Angeles Lakers spent the summer purifying the roster of a team that aspired to the title, replenishing it with seasoned NBA talent. Thus, they seem committed to immediately seeking coronation.
Now that everyone is in uniform, the Lakers speak as if they have all the time in the world to carry this incredible experiment from conception to completion.
“We’re taking it day by day,” warned Russell Westbrook, a Los Angeles native and a former league MVP. “We are finding out what we can or cannot do. That’s what the season is for. We have a goal in mind and that is to win the championship ”.
Almost exactly a year after the Lakers lifted their 17th championship trophy in the bubble, they are wrapping up a preseason with a roster that includes just three players who celebrated in Florida.
After an attempt to revalidate the title with an injury-plagued roster that succumbed in the first round to Phoenix, the Lakers tried something completely different to seek the second ring of LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the franchise.
The Lakers have nine players who are over 32 years old, including eight of 11 new acquisitions. But more importantly, according to the Lakers, they added incredible talent to a lineup.
And it seems that for the rivals it will be a nightmare to stop a team with such good offensive players every night.
There’s Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore. Even the relatively young Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn.
Any team that sports the gold and purple has been the NBA’s main attraction for decades. The team will get all the attention and more, no matter how far this experiment goes.
“We will have to face it all year,” acknowledged Los Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “We will probably be in the spotlight a lot more this year than any year. Our group is used to it ”.
Obviously, injuries could be the great obstacle to the Lakers’ success and could be what turns this experiment into a catastrophe. Los Angeles were without Ariza in the preseason and without young Talen Horton-Tucker for a long period.
James has suffered significant injuries in two of his last three seasons, while Davis has been even less reliable. The Lakers addressed last year’s injuries by hiring Golden State’s Roger Sancho as their new physical trainer.
THE ROLE OF WESTBROOK
Westbrook is a ball hog and has been a productive scorer during his impressive NBA career, but the veteran point guard insists he will have no problem adjusting to having fewer responsibilities on the ball, especially with James on the court. James, Westbrook and Davis will form a formidable third party and enter the season confident that they will be able to coexist comfortably.