Not being able to execute this off-season well can cause the Lakers to fall significantly in the standings
The Lakers had a great season considering the fact they started 2-10, however with Lebron and Anthony Davis the conference finals are not an achievement. Los Angeles may seem poised to take a leap and stay as a contender next season, but there may be something that is holding them back.
Key Free Agents
Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, and D’Angelo Russell are all poised for contract extensions, and it may seem questionable if Los Angeles can keep all of them. Reaves broke out this year averaging 13 points per game, and he became a vital offensive threat during the playoffs. He is expected to get around 60 million in free agency, but an over-aggressive team could sign him to a much larger deal.
D’Angelo Russell struggled in the conference finals. Russell’s highest game was 10 points. It is reasonable to assume Russell is going to be gone unless he’s going to take a pretty big pay cut to remain with Los Angeles.
Rui Hachimura is a vital piece for the Lakers, and he also broke out toward the end of the playoffs. Rui Hachimura improved his shooting significantly improved, close to 50/40. Rui Hachimura also was a vital defender. Hachimura finished the year with a 116 defensive rating with a 6’8 frame. He plays with a lot of intensity and brings the dawg on defense. Re-signing all of these players is a tough task for the Lakers, especially if a desperate team overpays.
Can Their Superstars Hold Up?
Anthony Davis had a terrific playoff stretch, especially on defense. Davis had an absolute block party and dominated the paint. Davis does tend to struggle on the offensive once in a while. Davis is never consistently aggressive, and he’s followed up great shooting nights by shooting below 40% from the field. It is clear Davis is an elite two option, not a one.
Lebron James, while still great, is not the number-one option on a team anymore. Lebron struggles from three, and at an extended age, he has missed time with injury. Due to this, it seems concerning for the Lakers of both of these players can endure a whole other season, playing at a high enough level to win a championship. This may have been their best chance. With Davis having an injury history, and Lebron only having a year left, the future is questionable for the Lakers.
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