2018-2019 Off the Glass Team Preview Series: Los Angeles Lakers
The 2018-2019 NBA season starts October 16th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Los Angeles Lakers.
35-47, 3rd in the Pacific Division.
The Los Angeles Lakers were much improved last year, and it started with the emergence of Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram. Lonzo Ball demonstrated he belongs in the league, although there is a lot of work to be done with his conditioning to maintain an 82-game season. Ingram and Ball only played 59 and 52 games each, so the Lakers could’ve possibly won closer to 40 games had they been healthier.
Julius Randle, PF; Isaiah Thomas, PG; Brook Lopez, C
LeBron James, F; Rajon Rondo, PG; Michael Beasley, F; JaVale McGee, C; Lance Stephenson, F; Svi Mykhailiuk, G; Moe Wagner, F/C
Player to Watch:
The Lakers added the biggest fish in LeBron James via free agency. This move changes the Western Conference landscape dramatically, as it firmly puts the Lakers back into the map. It’ll be interesting on what this current lineup can do, as they also added key veteran guys in Rondo, McGee, Stephenson, and Beasley to this young core. The Lakers were ranked 29th last season in 3-point shooting, and they didn’t exactly improve that this offseason. History points to teams featuring James work much better when there are shooters spaced out across the floor, but the Lakers have hinted James could play more in the post.
The Lakers are hoping Ingram, Kuzma, Hart and Ball can all take a huge leap forward this upcoming season. The Lakers were reluctant to trade any of these key pieces this offseason, and with good reason. Ingram still has the upside to be one of the best two-way players in the league someday. Hart and Kuzma could be starters or key rotational players on a championship-level team.
While Ball has a lot of improvements to work on, particularly on the offensive end, he still possesses a special gift in his passing. It’s worth mentioning that Rondo will be key to unleashing Ball’s potential, since they both share a very similar playing style in play-making and Rondo has a championship level pedigree that can push Ball to the next level.
Worst Case Scenario:
The Lakers never mesh as a team and Father Time begins to catch up to James. Injuries will be instrumental for the Lakers this season, as a loaded Western Conference will not wait for them to get healthy.
Best Case Scenario:
James continues to shatter the limits of kinesiology and push the Lakers into not only playoff contention, but the championship conversation. The young core has a breakout year and becomes a cornerstone of the next era of franchise success.
54-28, 2nd in Pacific Division.