One of the biggest winners of this offseason so far has to be the Los Angeles Lakers. After their championship in the bubble, the team was full of potential free agents and had some question marks about how they’d fill out the roster.
Just one weekend into free agency and Rob Pelinka has answered the bell.
Pelinka has done so well in fact, he has constructed the best roster LeBron James has ever played on.
Some may call this hyperbole before they play a game but quite honestly, with the upgrades they’ve made to an already championship core it really isn’t all that close. Coming into last season after all the assets they threw in to get Anthony Davis, it was widely accepted the Lakers would need another offseason to finish off the job they had started.
Even despite this, the team won the title and then did what everyone thought they would before the season: have a massive 2020 offseason.
Let’s start at the top of the roster for why this is LeBron’s best team. Firstly, with LeBron still in almost peak form, him matching up with himself although slightly worse to younger iterations, is basically a wash.
So up next is his number two and after his postseason performance, Davis has firmly cemented himself as LeBron’s best teammate. Some may call this disrespectful to Dwyane Wade but, Wade really peaked in 2011 and by the 2013 Heat team which was the best of the era, he was only a third-team All-NBA performer.
Obviously, that’s good but, Davis is a first-team lock and potential defensive player of the year this season, a far cry from where Wade was by year nine of his career.
The only other competition is 2017 Kyrie Irving as that was by most’s estimation his best team in Ohio even if they didn’t win the title. Irving had a great year in 2017, averaging over 25 a game but, it wasn’t enough to even make an All-NBA team so massive win Davis.
Where most people will turn to as the biggest advantage for those Cavs and Heat teams over this Lakers one is the third option.
To that point, I would have to agree. This Lakers team even with its additions doesn’t have anyone on the level of Kevin Love or Chris Bosh.
Here’s the reason this Lakers team wins this argument though, depth.
The team’s three through seven are Dennis Schroeder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, Wesley Matthews and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Think about how crazy it is that Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma played integral roles in this year’s title and likely won’t touch the floor when the team tightens its rotation in the 2021 playoffs.
Now let’s contrast this with the 2012-13 Heat’s three through nine, Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen. Certainly, some bigger names up top but the fact you’re asking if you’d rather have Trez or Chalmers or Matthews or Cole should tell you everything you need to know about the depth difference for LA.
66-16 regular season (including 27 game win streak)
16-7 playoffs (beat Pacers and Spurs in seven)
Even in Cleveland for a team that went 12-1 in the east and had many people thinking they’d beat the 2017 Warriors, it’s honestly laughable in comparison. The Cavs offered Love, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, Deron Williams and Channing Frye.
51-31 in regular season
13-5 in playoffs (12-1 in East, lost to first year of KD Warriors in closer series than remembered)
Let’s say for argument’s sake you’re a die-hard fan of those Cavs or Heat teams and won’t hear me on the roster for roster comparison.
Just answer me this then, who on each of those teams is guarding Anthony Davis?
I get we love the nostalgia of the past. Those Cavs teams offensively were some of the most fun teams to watch of the last decade and that Heat team will remain iconic to those of us who grew up during the Heatles.
However, at some point when doing this, we just need to look at the facts. I get this Lakers team hasn’t touched the floor yet and I get that titles aren’t handed out in the offseason.
All I ask is you reasonably tell me why the Heat or Cavs were better than this Laker’s team on paper because I’m here to tell you, I like the side of the argument I’m on.