With the 2022-2023 season approaching the midway point, many teams have been dealing with their own turmoil and struggles. The Lakers have continued to hit bumps in the road, but whether they the roster to its full potential will be the deciding factor in whether they get over the hump and make the playoffs.
The Lakers team that stepped on the court with LeBron when he broke the scoring record is now a thing of the past. The Lakers Front Office and Vice President of Basketball Operations/GM were hard at work scoping the rest of the NBA to alter the roster and provide us with better chemistry, depth, presence and a much greater shot at making the playoffs.
Although the FO remained minimal and silent throughout the trade talks, one thing was obvious: they needed to reassess the roster and become deeper, while saving money and keeping the books straight. They understood the assignment and put the Lakers in a better position to make the playoffs. They were able to dig deep and shake up the roster completely! As free agency came to a close, they made outstanding moves without giving up too much.
Rob Pelinka and the FO started on January 24th with the acquisition of Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards, in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and 3 second round picks in 23, 28, and 29. Little did the fanbase and NBA realize, the Lakers were just getting started. As the trade deadline on February 9th closed in, Rob and the Lakers not only made a move, they unloaded and made 3 solid trades!
Trade Number 1: Three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota
● Jazz receive: Russell Westbrook, Juan Tuscano-Anderson and Damian
Jones with a PROTECTED 1st round pick in 2027.
● Lakers receive: Former Laker D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and
● Timberwolves receive: Mike Conley Jr, Nickeil Alexander- Walker and 3
2nd round picks.
Malik Beasley, 6’4 shooting guard that benefits on both ends of the floor. He is a player who needs vision to see the open man but provides us with a shooter who is not afraid to take advantage of the opportunities, especially from the 3-point line. He is currently 52.2% in effective shooting and an 84% free throw shooter. (which is a category we can be better in.)
D’Angelo Russell, who we are familiar with as a young cat during the 2015 season. Since then he has developed his shooting ability and on the floor IQ, which helps him find the open man (he averages 6-7 assists a game). As he continues to develop in the league, he has played with a chip on his shoulder. He is currently averaging 46% from the field, but more impressive is his 40% efficiency from the 3.
Jarred Vanderbilt, 6’8 power forward who not only is big and active on the defensive end, but also adds a key factor to the identity the Lakers are building towards. He is currently averaging 55.6% from the field along with almost 8 rebounds a game. He will add much needed depth to the second unit.
Trade Number 2: Lakers deal with the Denver Nuggets.
● Lakers receive: Davon Reed and 3 2nd round picks.
● Nuggets receive: Thomas Bryant
Davon Reed, 6’5’’ who is extremely active on the defensive end, is not afraid to pick up full court, and will continue applying pressure until he gets the stop or a steal.
Trade Number 3: Lakers deal with the Orlando Magic
● Lakers receive: Mo Bamba
● Magic receive: Patrick Beverly and a 2nd round pick.
After many years of teasing the idea of a solid big in Mo Bamba, the time has finally come. Mo Bamba, 7’0’’ is a solid shooter who can shoot from the 3 point line and shoots 70% from the freethrow line. However, his biggest attribute will be the presence he has protecting the rim. His length will be able to assist Anthony Davis in the paint defensively.
Safe to say, Rob made the most of his efforts to create a better opportunity for the Lakers to get into the playoffs. While they are currently sitting 13th seed (25-31), they are only 2.5 games out of the play-in round. The team will be fully equipped with the new pieces and depth on Saturday when facing the Golden State Warriors. Although we might need a few games to find cohesion, the buy-in from the players and the new attributes they bring will be refreshing for the staff, management and fans. There is still time to make a run and get past that play-in spot to hold a playoff position.
As many people say, the season starts now!
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