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NBA Daily: Did The Lakers Do Enough This Offseason?

The Lakers made a splash at the beginning of the offseason, but struck out on a lot of talent waiting for Kawhi to make his decision. Will the moves they made be enough? Jordan Hicks takes a look.

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The beginning of the season edges closer and closer as we’ve recently turned our calendars to September. Team USA continues to struggle with almost zero semblance of continuity in the FIBA World Cup. But most people aren’t worried about USA basketball because, in all reality, almost every single player that would normally be on the team dropped out. However, this is all beside the point because you came here to read about the Lakers.

Ah, Los Angeles. The City of Angels. The land of two teams where one is about a million times more popular than the other. Seriously, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are teaming up and still, the Lakers get considerably more air-time. The Clippers have been SO much better than the Lakers since Kobe Bryant’s decline, but if you were strictly looking at media analytics you’d assume the Lakers have trumped the Clippers year after year.

This isn’t to say that the Lakers haven’t done enough this offseason to merit more clicks and views – trading for Anthony Davis was absolutely a big-time transaction – but are the Lakers really going to be that much better than last season?

Just about every sportsbook in the world has the Clippers at the highest odds to win the title, but the Lakers are usually in the top five, if not the top three. Their roster outside of LeBron James and Davis is not too palatable, so that shows just how talented those guys are. But will their talent alone be enough to get the Lakers their first title since 2010? Let’s break down their roster this year compared to last year and see just how much better they can potentially be.

Big Additions: Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley

DeMarcus Cousins would merit a spot on this list, but his torn ACL will likely keep him out the entire season. His off-court dealings are a different story in and of itself, but it technically doesn’t make a difference anyway because he won’t be suiting up anytime soon.

Anthony Davis is clearly the big win for the Lakers this offseason. His acquisition came at a cost, however, because they had to dole out a huge portion of their team from last season in order to pry him away from New Orleans. What’s worse is he only has one year left on his contract. Should things not work out well in LA with Mr. Space Jam 2 himself, he could be seeking for brighter pastures elsewhere.

But let’s not downplay the Lakers for making an obvious home run trade. Getting Davis, even if it’s only for one year, gives Los Angeles a legitimate chance at winning a championship. Had they run it back with the same team from the season prior, they might have squeezed out a playoff spot.

Davis gives the Lakers instant help on both ends of the ball. He’s a top-five big man defensively, a top-three big on offense and arguably one of the best five players in the league.

AD is surely more suited to play a five, but he prefers the four, oddly enough, so the Lakers signed Dwight Howard after Cousins’ recent injury.

Dwight is a decent pickup for LA with not much left on the market, but he’s not the kind of player this late in his career that will move the needle. His pickup is more of a lateral move than a vertical one, and to be frank it wouldn’t even be necessary if Davis would just agree to play the five full-time. We all know it is going to happen come playoff time.

Danny Green is a really solid pickup for a team that sorely lacked outside shooting last season. His acquisition is really the only offseason move that will help the Lakers with their perimeter shooting, so it looks like they are content with another season of getting to the rim and only taking threes when nothing else is open. They likely would have tried to sign other snipers, but waited too long in the Kawhi sweepstakes and struck out.

Green is also a really solid defender, even at this point in his career, so his acquisition – coupled with the Davis pickup and Avery Bradley signing – will make the Lakers a better team defensively. LeBron is a great defender when he needs to be, but with his ever-increasing age, it is always a smart idea to surround him with talent on that end.

Big Losses: Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart

Is Anthony Davis better than the above three players combines? Probably yes. Does he give LeBron a better chance at winning a championship? Definitely yes. That’s why losing the above three via trade was a necessary evil.

LeBron is getting older, and he only has so many good years left, so getting Davis even just a year early is worth losing a bulk of the young core.

They were able to hang on to Kuzma, so that in essence was a big win, but the versatility of Ball, the scoring ability of Ingram and the toughness and hustle of Hart will be missed to some degree.

Ingram was one of the few players last season that could create his own shot outside of LeBron. He did steadily improve throughout the season as well.

Hart was a late selection in his respective draft and provided pretty high value for how late he went. The lack of his scoring presence off the bench will be felt for sure.

Lonzo is one of the more versatile players in today’s NBA. His shooting still hasn’t come to fruition, but his defense, passing and fast-break tendencies are all elite. He is crazy athletic and likely has the most upside of anyone involved in the trade. He still has plenty of room to improve, and he never grew into full-form with Los Angeles, but he’s the kind of player that the Lakers could end up feeling major regret for letting go.

The Lakers upgraded their starting five, downgraded their depth and didn’t really do anything to significantly improve their outside shooting. Their success this upcoming season will be largely based on how much better their starting unit became.

With no clear upgrade to their outside shooting, we’ll be able to see if that is still a glaring issue or if the Davis and Green acquisitions were enough to do away with that notion. Either way, the champion at the end of the season is not based on who shoots threes the best, so the Lakers can definitely find a way to win without it.

Overall, Los Angeles did what they could this offseason. The Davis trade was imminent, but it still needed to be done in order for them to increase their championship odds. Losing most of the young core was going to happen as well, so the Lakers did what they could to fill in those empty roster spots.

Waiting on Kawhi could end up being a big deal, as they were only fortunate enough to pick up Danny Green – one of the few players that was waiting on a Leonard decision, too.

Will the moves the Lakers made this offseason be enough to hoist the Larry O’Brien? Only time will tell.

But one thing is certain. LeBron – although still incredibly talented – is human. His time is running out. If Los Angeles can’t find a way to piece things together this season, the window will only get smaller moving forward.

Jordan Hicks is an NBA writer based out of Salt Lake City. He is a former college athlete and varsity sports official. Find him on Twitter @JordanHicksNBA.

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