The Los Angeles Lakers started last season with some great transfer moves. Trevor Ariza, Russel Westbrook, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore, D. J. Augustin, Stanley Johnsson veteran and star players Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan all joined the team.
With these new transfers, the Lakers aimed to end the failure experienced in the previous campaign, by strengthening their roster rotation and changing the atmosphere within the team. Only then they could again climb the NBA odds and be a force to reckon with.
Injuries Plague Once Again
As in the 2018-2019 season, injuries continued to plague the Lakers. After the announcement that Anthony Davis would be away from the parks for a long time due to his injury, the Lakers technical team could not get enough contribution from the players who replaced Davis, and on top of that, the disconnections in the team deteriorated the balances within the team and an atmosphere of confusion arose.
LeBron James, one of the best players in NBA history, suffered an unfortunate injury while trying to do his best for his team in this difficult process. After LeBron James’ injury, the Lakers faced the danger of being out of the playoffs.
Team leadership and handling of the ball were the primary problems for the Lakers. As every basketball lover knows, the leader and the player who directs the ball in the teams LeBron James plays is James himself.
Westbrook: The Season Fiasco?
Still, there was another alpha wolf who stepped into the role last season: Russell Westbrook. The problems caused by Westbrook’s desire to play the ball and the fact that he was worse at guiding the ball compared to previous years, were followed by LeBron James. He got injured and missed some games, the situation started to become more and more unbearable.
The Lakers had to return to the paint attack due to the injury problems of players such as Ellington, Nunn, and Bazemore, who were transferred to increase the percentage of outside shots. This was one of the biggest problems of the previous season and it started to not get the expected efficiency from the under-pot players. The cards in the hands of coach Frank Vogel, who could not get efficiency from the veteran players, started to decrease and the inevitable end was approaching for the Lakers.
Last Glimpse Of A Playoff
With the end of the season approaching, the Lakers still had a slim chance of a playoff. The balance had changed with the injury of LeBron James in the game with the New Orleans Pelicans, one of the primary opponents. Although the Lakers’ squad at that time seemed to be sufficient, this squad was limited compared to other NBA teams and had difficulty producing scores. Even though Russell Westbrook and Malik Monk did their best for the team during this period, the Lakers, who started losing consecutively without the contribution of other players and the bench, came to the end of the season and the playoff chance was gone.
What Has Been Done So Far and What’s Next?
The Lakers management blamed the failure on coach Vogel and sent him off the team. In the new season, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham has been appointed as the head coach. Ham, who will serve as head coach for the first time in his career, said of Westbrook, to whom fans lashed at and who was expected to be sent off the team, “Before we ignore him, let’s watch him on my system, under my principles.”
Coach Ham, who was one of the important components of the Detroit Pistons’ championship in 2004 during his basketball career and who has been the assistant of Mike Budenholzer for the last nine seasons, has been one of the main architects of the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent success and championship. Winning the championship both as a player and as a coach is a plus point for coach Ham and increases his credit. Furthermore, Ham, a beloved character and trainer among current players, looks set to put an end to the confusion within the team and change the bad mood.
What Does Darvin Ham Add To The Lakers?
The question to be asked here is: “What will Ham add to the team technically and physically, besides the psychological improvement?”
One of the answers seems to be a rejuvenation move. As in the past career of coach Ham, the most important contribution he made for the Lakers will be ‘youth and dynamism’. In support of this, Ham asked management to rejuvenate the team as one of the moves to change the bad mood of last season. Upon the coach’s report, the Lakers management recruited young players such as Wenyen Gabriel, Thomas Brynt, Juan Tocana-Anderson, and Lonnie Walker IV to the team. In addition to young players, the Lakers management’s inclusion of a player with a high defensive character such as Patrick Beverly in the squad is a successful move to strengthen the team’s defense and combative structure for this season.
The Lakers management and coach Ham should transfer ‘superstar’ players and strengthen the bench to increase the strength of the team and create a competitive roster for the championship, considering star players LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis would suffer unexpected injuries during the next season. In addition, a star player to the point guard position and a pivot transfer move that can throw an outside shot and inward seems to be coming to solve the outside shooting problem.
Kyrie Irving is one of the players rumored to be on the team’s radar, but the Lakers need to clear cap space.
Whom should they sign and who should be let go? Who are the winners and losers from the Lakers roster last season?
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