Going into the new season with their version of the “Big 3” — LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis — still intact, the Lakers will probably need to strengthen their supporting cast if they want to have a chance to compete for a championship after a poor season previously. The good news for Lakers fans is that James recently inked a two-year extension, keeping him around for at least two more seasons.
However, the Lakers will need to add more shooters if they are to find success. A LeBron James team typically thrives with multiple shooters on the floor. Los Angeles have already added Patrick Beverley recently, a move to add depth to the backcourt, and have veteran players such as Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore as reinforcements. The Lakers also tabbed Darvin Ham as their new head coach this off-season — a step up for Ham, having spent the previous four years as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks.
While experience is on this team’s side, fatigue and youth is not. It’s been less than two years since the Lakers won a championship, but if last season is any indication of what’s to come, they won’t be hanging any more banners in Crypto.com Arena anytime soon. Having said that, the Lakers can still be a capable team on their day and might offer some good value in certain games for anyone wanting to bet on the NBA this year.
If there’s one word to describe the Los Angeles Lakers last season it would have to be ‘underwhelming’. Perhaps even ‘disappointing’. Finishing in 11th place in the Western Conference, with a record of 33-49, wasn’t anyone’s idea of success for the Lakers before the 2021-22 season began.
The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook on a huge contract prior to last season, in the hope that the addition of the veteran would help with the load LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be carrying. Unfortunately, Westbrook’s inclusion in the team has proven to be a mistake, at least so far. Lakers fans will hope for a bigger contribution from him — and more from the team, in general — this season.
Arguably the most storied franchise in the NBA, the Lakers are tied with the Boston Celtics for the most championships with 17. The first came in 1949, just two years after the Lakers were founded as the Minneapolis Lakers.
They spent 13 years in Minnesota before relocating to Los Angeles in 1960, which was also the year the Lakers selected Jerry West, who is the figure on the NBA logo. From its inception, the Lakers were able to have superstar after superstar.
Following Elgin Baylor and West, the Lakers brought in Wilt Chamberlain, who retired in 1973. He was soon replaced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who joined the Lakers in 1975 and helped them to win five championships — all in the 1980s.
Alongside Abdul-Jabbar was Magic Johnson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 and is considered one of the best point guards — best players, even — of all time. Once the dynasty of these two was over, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were the next duo up to guide the Lakers to continued success. The two won three championships together before O’Neal was traded to Miami Heat in 2004.
Bryant continued to help the Lakers win rings, winning back to back championships in 2009 and 2010. Each of these 21st century titles — besides the 2020 championship — came with Phil Jackson at the helm.