After two murals, countless repairs to said murals, a host of offseason moves and, oh yeah the addition of the greatest hooper on the planet, Lakers fans should be fired right up for the 2018 tip off.
After years of incompetence and lottery picks, the Lakers look ready to make a run back to the top of the sport they used to own. Luke Walton, Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss are assembling a team that can give Golden State a run for its dominance.
The Lakers offseason was a busy one, sending 16 players packing while bringing in 11 new faces. The biggest loss is Julius Randle who led the team in both points and rebounds last season. In addition to LeBron James, the Lakers added Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee and Lance Stephenson, and drafted versatile big man Mortiz Wagner out of Michigan.
Wagner, for those of you who don’t know the first round pick is a seven foot center that has a great shot from behind the line. In his days at Michigan Wagner made his outside looks consistently, just missing the 40 per cent mark his last year (39.4). In short, Wagner is exactly the type of guy you’d expect a team competing with the Warriors would love, length inside on the defensive end and a great stroke from outside. This kid was a baller at Michigan and I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns a lot go heads this year.
All in all the Lakers look poised to make some noise this year. De-throning the Warriors in year one of the James era in LA might be asking a little too much, but let’s be honest here, a LeBron James led team can do some pretty special things. I mentioned the murals in the lede and their repairs, and it shocks me that there are some in L.A. who don’t want this guy on their team. Take it from someone who grew up just outside of Toronto, you’d rather have James on your team than play against him.
Let’s just talk for a second about how exciting this is going to be if the Lakers can get to a playoff game? They should. I would be willing to bet that wearing the purple and gold, at a playoff game in the Staples Centre would beat the atmosphere in Miami, or Cleveland, easily. The best player in the world, having the most fun of his life, in one of the best buildings to be a baller in? Who’s not excited for that?
I think this team’s realistic goal should be a playoff spot. I think James will win them a series or two, but they won’t beat Golden State in a best of seven, the Warriors are my pick to win it all again this year, unfortunately. If James can lead the Lakers back to the post season, bring that atmosphere and culture back to the organization that embodied post season basketball, I’d call that a great start to the LeBron era, wouldn’t you?