This offseason the Lakers made headlines, caused debate around the NBA, and (hopefully) built themselves a championship roster. Much of this debate among TV analysts and sports fans in general center around the two major additions the Lakers made this year: trading for Russell Westbrook and signing Carmelo Anthony. Many are asking if Westbrook’s run and gun style can mesh with the Lakers, or if Carmelo can take a backseat to his more high profile teammates. If this works out, Westbrook and Melo will get their first rings and Lebron will cement himself further into the GOAT conversation. But, if this experiment goes wrong Lebron’s last years will be wasted and L.A will have thrown away their future.
The Westbrook Factor
Seeing Russell Westbrook coming down the lane at full speed can be similar to a freight train barrling straight towards you. That’s how he plays the game. A hard, athletic guard that can dominate any player in the paint. For the Lakers to have someone that can carry the offense, create plays for the team and score the ball, while Lebron is on the bench is why he was brought in. AD is more of an iso player and never was the floor general Lebron or Russ are. If this was the only thing that Westbrook brought to this team then the Lakers would have won free agency and may have guaranteed themselves a chip. The problem is that the Westbrook we are going to get next season is most definitely not the one that won the MVP in 2017. He has lost some of his steam, and the lack of three point shooting is becoming more and more of a problem as the game evolves and Westbrook gets older. The Lakers will have to figure out how to run a lineup with Lebron, AD, and Westbrook who are all non shooters. This will inherently clog up the driving lanes, which are a major part of Russ and Lebron’s game. Westbrook is still a special player but it is fair to wonder if Father Timer is catching up with him, and how he fits with the new look Lakers.
Melo and the New Look Bench
Carmelo Anthony’s fit into this offense is much easier to imagine than Westbrook’s. Melo has a sweet shot, and the ability to score in the paint if needed. He can create space for the rest of the team, while also being a iso scorer in certain situations. The big question mark is whether Melo can accept playing a much lesser role, maybe even the bench, as he takes a backseat to Lebron, Russ, and AD. All of these players need the ball in their hands much more than Carmelo does to be effective, which is why he will most likely be the fourth option on this team. There are many people that still believe that this would work because Carmelo is playing with his friends, and if he didn’t want to do this he wouldn’t have signed on to free agency. The rest of the team has some question marks though. Losing Kuzma, Caruso, and Harrell will affect this team’s depth. KCP and THT are the only good depth options on this team. The Lakers will most likely pick up vets on the waivers, but they must make sure not to get outbid by the Nets or Clippers because they can’t afford to lose potential depth.
All in all the hype on this team is most certainly real, and if Russ can figure it out like he did in his last two stops then this Lakers team should be dangerous. This team could be a final run for these vets.
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