NBA Bubble Final Thoughts: Part 3

Darryl Rice
NBA Analyst

"I'm just here so I won't get fined."

The Nearer Future

What’s happening y’all? Darryl here to wrap up the final thoughts of our 2020 NBA Finals, and specifically my beloved Lakers. Next week is the start of my new season articles and everything feels out of place. If you haven’t had a chance to read my previous article make sure you do here. The first article was a facetious look at the Lakers roster and how this was a championship that may have meant a lot to LeBron mentally, and emotionally. The second article focused on the game-play of the Lakers and how they were beyond dominant on defense. This article will focus on primarily if the Lakers can repeat a chip and how.

A Quick Answer

We should get the obvious question out of the way. Can the Lakers repeat and win the chip in 2021? The short answer is, yes! Will it be easier than this year? I’m not so sure. The Lakers showed enough fortitude through the playoffs, but could the finals have gone a different way with a healthy Dragic, and Adebayo? If it does then we need a better roster moving into next year.

The Roster

The Lakers will have Anthony Davis and LeBron next year. That’s all you need. AD should sign his 2+1 contract for $106M and be done. The simple task is to build set pieces around them, but there’s nothing simple about 2020. The set pieces brought on or released will definitely have to matter because they will have to carry the team when the season starts. There’s nothing etched in stone yet, but we are possibly looking at a December start with 72 games. Every game will matter, and teams with a long rest will be motivated to get out to an early start. So we trim the fat here. Waiters and Smith may have to go. It looks like KCP proved enough in the finals where he can secure the bag. Any east coast team will be willing to pay him more than Los Angeles. I’m not gonna lie, he showed up.

There are tons of player options with this roster, and the Lakers have no cap space. We’re making trades all day. We lose Dwight Howard, keep JaVale. I also believe Morris may be out. We have Kuz and Green, but I believe we lose them in a trade. No team wants to be responsible for letting a set piece go with the risk of a repeat. No team wants to be “that guy”. Trades can possibly get tedious for Rob Pelinka, and he has to prevent a fleecing. Alex Caruso stays, he drinks the Laker kool aid. Avery Bradley can possibly go, and I wonder if the team is a little salty, as he was the key PG needed for that line-up. Obviously he didn’t matter, but his future can go either way. If KCP and Bradley are solid with the Lakers, then it’s definitely a fire sale on Dudley, Morris, Smith, Waiters, and Cook. The key piece in my opinion is Rondo. Get Rajon back and that takes care of a lot of woes for player development and LeBron getting the rest he needs.

The Need

The Lakers need a dependable third option when LeBron and/or AD are off the court. We saw Rajon take on this task during the playoffs and finals in which he did a great job. But the Lakers need a star who has the capacity to score outside at a high clip, or can get inside whenever he pleases. They need to keep the floor stretched at all times and this happens when we have outside threats. Shooters, the Lakers need shooters. 

The Targets

This is where it gets really tricky. Targeting players can be a nightmare in itself. There are so many moving parts involved, it almost seems as if it’s easier to keep your roster the way it is. Technically, the Lakers have shooters, right? Yes and no. I believe the Lakers need a more consistent shooter to prevent defenses from cheating off the pick. Here are players I feel the Lakers should target to make an easier repeat championship. These are my top-2:

Derrick Rose. I don’t care what anyone says, this man has a step, and he can shoot. Definitely not the three, but he can be a valuable point guard to control the tempo and distribute the ball.

Dennis Shroeder. I believe this man learned a ton of information from Chris Paul. One-third of the close out trio of guards, Dennis proved he could hold his own. He’s smart, and beyond crafty on the court.

I can clog this article with different players I believe are great, or I can give you an analysis video. Here’s a great video that talks about trade options and great set pieces for the Lakers. I like the options, but I don’t really agree with all these suggestions.

The End 

In this series we looked at the Lakers from different perspectives. We looked at them off the court, as well as how they played like a championship team on the court. We lastly looked at some possible options which provide a possible road map to a repeat. With off-season already happening, and the new season almost set to kick off in a few months, it’s safe to say the Lakers have a huge journey ahead of them. Let’s see if they get it done! 

Stay safe yall.
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