The Lakers are at an impasse, Darvin Ham wants to morph Russell Westbrook into Gary Payton but sometimes you have to be realistic. Asking Russell Westbrook to play defense is one thing but asking him to be effective on both ends with a ball dominant player like LeBron is asking for too much. In order for LeBron James to win he has to play with pieces that compliment his skills at a floor general and players that can actually play off him. Russell Westbrook can not play off LeBron James, he is not a knock down shooter and not someone who is going to be doing much off the ball except waiting for a kick-out pass.
Not sure if the Lakers could acquire both Brogdon and Hield as that would all but give them a very balanced starting lineup assuming LeBron and Davis can remain healthy next season and play at least 60-70 games next season. Brogdon is more suited to play off LeBron and be able to create opportunities for others and serve as a pocket passer for Davis down low in the paint. Westbrook gets a majority of his assists on kickouts to the perimeter or he’ll just run down the shot clock and attempt to take everyone in his way with him in a attempt to dunk or convert at the rim with a lay-up. I watched Brogdon and saw how well he fit alongside Giannis and you could make the argument he was the second option at times even with Middleton being part of the lineup.
The Lakers attempted to put together what would have been the Dream Team of the early 2010’s by coupling LeBron and Davis with Westbrook,Melo,and Howard who all should end up being first ballot hall-of-famers the day they retire but basketball does not work that way. We’ve seen multiple teams with star power which failed to win a championship such as the Barkley,Pippen,and Hakeem Rockets from the late 90’s and Westbrook,Melo,and George in Oklahoma City. Also the Lakers attempted to put a past his prime Nash with Kobe and traded for what was a prime Howard and injuries derailed any opportunity of obtaining a title. So what happened with the Lakers this past season is nothing out of the ordinary. The Lakers can right the ship this summer by following the formula which led to them winning the title 2020.
Buddy Hield never turned out to be Stephen Curry for the Sacramento Kings, that’s what the team owner expected after trading for the Oklahoma product but he could finally capture glory next season alongside LeBron the same way Wiggins did with Curry this past season. Buddy came in to the NBA at the age of 23-24, I never expected him to become a top 10 player in the NBA but he has fell short of what I expected of him. The Pacers are in rebuilding mode, they have a logjam in their backcourt and it’s time to open up minutes for Chris Duarte and Tyrese Haliburton. Buddy Hield has struggled to make his mark but at this point at the age of 29 assuming he will ever win a title in his career he can’t be the first or second option on that team. What he could be is the ideal third option behind two superstars in LeBron and Davis.
70-75 percent of the Lakers’s job would be the done if the acquire both Hield and Brogdon but acquiring either or would be a smart move. LeBron and Davis can do everything on the basketball court, there is no need for a third player with a usage rate as high as Westbrook on the roster. The Lakers received timely shooting from Rondo and Caldwell-Pope and Caruso did all the dirty work on defense and made timely plays whenever needed for the Lakers whenever teams keyed in on LeBron and Davis, Brogdon and Hield would be able to provide the timely shooting and play-making the Lakers lacked this past season. I wouldn’t mind going into next season with Westbrook as the starting guard but fitting in Westbrook with LeBron and Davis is like trying to put a lion,tiger,and beat together in the same cage just not a good idea, till next time.