Lakers' frenetic roster moves still not enough to surpass Warriors

By Alec Brzezinski 3 July 2018 2
Lakers' frenetic roster moves still not enough to surpass Warriors

The Lakers did it, they got LeBron James.

The James sweepstakes ended abruptly Sunday when his agency announced that he chose to play with the Lakers. Subsequently, Los Angeles has made a number of moves to help give James and the franchise a chance at a title.

A possible Los Angeles trade for Spurs star Kawhi Leonard remains on the table, but for now the Lakers' supporting cast looks similar to the one James had with the Cavaliers last season.

Here's a rundown of players the Lakers have reportedly signed over the last couple of days:

LeBron James
Lance Stephenson
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (re-signed)
Rajon Rondo

The Lakers have also reportedly renounced Julius Randle from his contract, saving the team more money.

But what does it all mean? The question on everyone's mind is does all the Lakers' changes make them strong contenders for the NBA Finals? Can they beat the Warriors in a best-of-7 series?

The simple answer, at this time, is no. The Cavaliers looked undermanned last month in the Finals against the Warriors, and this conglomerate of personalities the Lakers have put together doesn't include anyone near Kevin Love's talent.

The Lakers' projected starting lineup, as it stands, has Rondo at point guard with Caldwell-Pope at shooting guard, James at small forward, Kyle Kuzma at power forward and Brandon Ingram likely starting in a Andre Iguodala-like role.

Rondo is the perfect point guard for a James-led offense. He's a great passer, doesn't need a ton of shots and he's solid defensively. James should enjoy his presence. However, James usually thrives with wings who can consistently knock down 3-pointers. Caldwell-Pope and Ingram aren't great deep shooters.

Should the Lakers acquire Leonard, they would have the defensive edge, but would still lack outside shooting. The Warriors have the ability to quick-strike teams with three elite 3-point shooters, and this Lakers team can't match that.

Then there's team chemistry, which is something this team threatens to severely lack. James and Stephenson have clashed in the past. Rondo has a strong personality, and Lonzo Ball and his circus remains on the roster. This is Los Angeles we're talking about, but that's a lot of strong personalities on the same roster.

The Warriors also have strong egos, however, they have learned to play as a cohesive unit. It remains to be seen if this Lakers squad can do the same.

While the Lakers certainly re-awoke their slumbering fan base this offseason, the Warriors and Rockets remain the favorites to rise out of the Western Conference.

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Alec Brzezinski