2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: Los Angeles Lakers
The BIG Lead
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Los Angeles Lakers.
2018-2019 Record: 37-45, 4th in the Pacific Division.
Season Recap: In their first season with LeBron James, the Lakers did not do as well as many had hoped. With a fresh set of faces like Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and JaVale McGee, the Lakers struggled to find their footing and establish themselves. Along with that, LeBron and Brandon Ingram both missed nearly 30 games with injuries and suspensions. Kyle Kuzma improved in some aspects, but did not develop as much as many had hoped. In a stacked Western Conference, the Lakers found themselves at the 10th spot in the standings, which is a far cry from the success that many had anticipated for the team.
Key Losses: Lonzo Ball (G), Josh Hart (G), Brandon Ingram (F), Moritz Wagner (C)
Key Additions: Anthony Davis (C), Dwight Howard (C), Jared Dudley (F), Danny Green (G)
Preview: The Lakers are seeking to establish a dynasty, and were willing to give away players seen as assets for Anthony Davis. Along with this, they signed DeMarcus Cousins who will not play this season due to injury, which prompted the Lakers to bring back Dwight Howard. Dwight’s first tour in L.A was far from optimal, so with him back in the mix along with MVP level talent like Davis and James, we could see Howard return to the dominant form we saw in Orlando.
The Lakers will have to seamlessly gel Howard and Davis into the mix to be a major contender this year, especially regarding the loss of valuable players like Ball and Hart. The addition of Danny Green from Toronto does help the gap in their outside shooting, but they are far from a major threat from deep. Perimeter defense is still an issue, but the defense as a whole takes a large step forward with Davis and Howard being two of the best rim protectors in recent history. There is the issue of Davis staying healthy as well. He has a spotty track record with injuries and needs to stay healthy to keep the Lakers in contention for a title.
Player to Watch: Dwight Howard (C)
Team X-Factor: The ability to keep Anthony Davis and LeBron James healthy.
Worst Case Scenario: Davis falls into the cycle of injuries he has been known to find himself in and Howard repeats what he did in L.A years ago. Also, the team would feel the gap left from giving away many of their promising young players. The Lakers would fall to the 8th or 9th spot in the standings.
Best Case Scenario: If James and Davis can both stay healthy and Howard reminds us that he is one of the best defenders ever, this team could rise above the rest and bring a title back to L.A in purple and gold. Green would also need to fill the gaps in shooting and Kyle Kuzma would take a large step forward in becoming a dominant stretch player.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: 50-32, 2nd in Pacific Division