NBA Power Rankings #8: Los Angeles Lakers
photo via flickr.
The Los Angeles Lakers will probably be higher on this list by the end of the season, but these first few weeks may not be as smooth as we're used to seeing a LeBron James team. The addition of James is obviously as big an upgrade as you can make for an NBA roster with just one player, but the chemistry and inexperience of the rest of the Lakers could be problematic early in the year.
The Lakers have a plethora of young players with high potential (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma to name a few) and all of whom have shown flashes of what they can be. The problem is, this year isn't about what they can be, it's about what they are. None of the young players on this team have the experience of playing with someone like LeBron and the expectations that come with it. While LeBron get's way too much undeserved hatred and criticism, the support cast is also highly scrutinized. Just think about how much people ragged on a much more experienced Cavs roster last season, and that includes a proven All-Star like Kevin Love. With the spotlight increased in L.A. and their are young stars who haven't been in this position before, you can't help but be nervous about how they'll handle both the on and off court pressure that comes with playing with LeBron.
That being said, they're ranked eighth on our power rankings so they must have some upside and bright spots. The Lakers have LeBron James. How's that for a bright spot? LeBron is still the greatest player in the world and will enter a system that won't rely on him as much compared to his season in Cleveland last year. The young players I mentioned earlier, while are still learning, do have a lot of talent and have the tools to contribute to a winning team.
The Lakers will click at some point this season and when they do it'll be scary for the rest of the league. As for the opening month or two of this season you can expect a lot of learning curves along the way. If they're able to be around .500 by All-Star Weekend, this is a team that can make a run in the Western Conference.