The Los Angeles Lakers are currently sitting at 13-18 and won’t get back Anthony Davis till likely mid January; and to top it off he’s going to need at least 4-5 games when he gets back to get his legs under him; specially coming off a foot injury and anyone with logic would know the lower body is vital in a sport where continued pressure is put on ligaments which increases the risk of an eventual aggravation,which has often been the case in Davis’s career in the NBA. LeBron James isn’t barreling through traffic for an entire game like he did in his Miami Beach days or roaming like a Doberman on the defensive end for 40+ minutes a night but he is still when healthy one of the top 7-8 players in the game regardless of how his doubters feel about him; and whether or not he is better than Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. On to Zach Lavine who hasn’t been living up to being the Chicago Bulls’s version of Kobe Bryant they expected when he came over in a trade which sent former Bulls favovite Jimmy Butler to Minnesota; should Rob Pelinka risk moving both first round picks for Zach Lavine? I wouldn’t do it and here is why.
The Lakers’s defense is heavily reliant on Anthony Davis who I’ve grown accustomed to just holding my breath whenever he decides to pump-fake and drive the lane; he’s got legs equivalent to glass and at this point LeBron James needs to just mentally get himself in a state where he is ready to step up from the jump with the anticipation that Anthony Davis could go down at any moment. Bringing over Zach Lavine would just be LeBron James once again looking to win a championship with a formula which is quite simply outdated up to this point; not to mention and this is coming from a long-time LeBron James supporter; he’s no longer at the level where he can cover up practically any deficiency a team might have offensively or defensively and will them to a championship like he did through his legendary 8-year run with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2010’s. If Luka Doncic,Giannis Antetokoumpo,Kevin Durant,Stephen Curry,Jayson Tatum,Nikola Jokic, or Devin Booker were the players Rob Pelinka was keen on bringing over to Los Angeles at the trade deadline I would sign off on the Lakers winning the 2023 NBA Championship; but we all know that would be a pipe-dream much like it was for the New York Knicks to sign LeBron James 2010.
Zach Lavine a fantastic player,uber talented and a magnificent shooter but he’s not changing the Lakers’s fortunes going into the second half of the season let alone the 2023 NBA Playoffs; yes he would fit in like a glove alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis being that he can space the floor out and give the Lakers more options during crunch time than Russell Westbrook would but he won’t fix all of the Lakers’s current holes; and the Lakers lack enough assets as is to patch up wing-defense and their lack of size upfront. The Lakers have to get deeper instead; I don’t necessarily believe LeBron James is putting pressure on Rob Pelinka to acquire a star but more to acquire some shooting and a reliable center who can slot next to Anthony Davis and actually be able to make an impact; unlike Thomas Bryant who is being thrust into a situation coming off an injury where he just might be better suited to come off the bench in a role much like Bobby Portis has in Milwaukee where he provides scoring and rebounding off the bench with less pressure.
With a Big 3 of Zach Lavine,LeBron James,and Anthony Davis at best the Lakers make a Conference Finals appearance this season; and even that might be a stretch since the Western Conference is a brewing gauntlet as the season prolongs. LeBron James was able to defy order through the 2010’s by teaming up with multiple all-stars a route not many former greats took; he was once the lone star and solo act playing for a Cleveland Cavaliers’s organization who gave him clutter and told him to go figure it out against a Boston team which boasted 4 hall-of-famers. Difference now compared to then is the superstars he will have to compete against this season in the playoffs assuming the Lakers even make it there; all have much favorable situations; teams with depth,shooting, and wings 3 areas the Lakers’s are severely lacking in.
Zach Lavine is better off waiting on Lonzo Ball’s arrival heading into the second half and hoping Billy Donovan can somehow tap into Patrick Williams who continues to be a flash in a pan but worth being patient with. To conclude no Zach Lavine is not worth mortgaging your entire future for, Rob Pelinka is better off rolling the dice on Russell Westbrook one more last time; after all it’s a first ballot hall-of-famer we are talking about here and although his shooting splits will terrify you over the past 4-5 games he has been the Lakers best play-maker up until now; while also being one of their better defenders as well. This all has the makings of a do or die season for the Lakers; I don’t know how the Lakers as an organization going into next summer will convince Laker fans they’ll put a product out on the floor heading into the 2023-2024 NBA season around LeBron James and Anthony Davis that will spell title contender, anyways till next time.