Video: Lebron Offers Harsh Thoughts On Lakers' Roster

The Los Angeles Lakers had an offseason that was heavy on rumors, but light on action. Besides trading for Patrick Beverley, the team essentially left the roster untouched, namely in regard to its ‘Big 3’ of Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. After an opening day 123-109 loss to the Golden State Warriors, that’s already looking like a decisive mistake. It may only be one game, but 82 games of last year’s Lakers couldn’t make the playoffs, and this iteration doesn’t seem much better. An inefficient offense and a complete lack of depth threaten to derail the 2020 champs, just as it did last year. In his post-game comments, Lebron acknowledged the issues with the roster, stating outright that the team wasn't made for “great shooting”.
After the last game of the preseason, the organization backtracked on its plan to play Westbrook off the bench. To his credit, Westbrook had a solid game despite the drama surrounding his role on the team. Again, though, this came at the cost of their second unit, which lacks any kind of scoring punch if Westbrook is being deployed alongside Davis and Lebron. The Lakers’ best bench performer was Kendrick Nunn, who scored 13 points in 23 minutes. The rest all ranged from 0 to 3 points on a combined 3-of-13 shooting. With performances like that, the purple and gold are going to have plenty of games this year that follow the same pattern as yesterday’s: staying close in the first half, then falling behind once they have to rest their stars.
Davis and James each played around 35 minutes in the game, and it would be downright unrealistic to expect that level of playing time from the duo on a game-by-game basis. Lebron is 38 and Davis has a checkered injury history. Westbrook’s high-usage, low-efficiency style becomes more likely to derail the offense the longer he plays, so ideally he won’t exceed the 31 minutes he played against the Warriors too often. The question is: who’s left to play? The loss has many fans clamoring for the front office to go back to the table with the Pacers, with whom they were reportedly in trade talks in the offseason.

Unless the Lakers find a miracle solution, they’re going to be heavily relying on marginal role players and 10-day contracts. And as they proved last year, that won’t be enough for a team with championship aspirations.

© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports