The Lakers Still Aren’t Contenders…

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Remember kids, wishes do come true, for LeBron James at least. Luke Walton is gone, Magic Johnson, the former star whom LeBron has been compared to many times throughout his career, gone. Now, the trade that he was pushing for last season has finally happened.

Not only did he get Anthony Davis, the most talented big man he’s had on any roster by far, but he also got rid of Lackluster Lonzo and all the drama that comes with him. I’m talking about you Lavar.

On paper, this would seem like a giant win for the Lakers, at least to the casual fan, but is it? Did the Lakers truly make themselves instant contenders as many have already began to shout from the highest points on the internet?

Spence’s Two Cents: Nope.

While the trade helps the Lakers in this upcoming season, it will ultimately prove to be a terrible trade in the long run, especially when the Lakers come up short in 2020. It gets even worse when you consider the fact that Anthony Davis is a free agent next year and they could have got him anyway without giving up Lonzo Ball.

For as bad as the kid has been shooting the basketball, the rest of his game looks more polished than a lot of the leagues veterans. The only problem is that he’s shown his promise in quick bursts, then gone right back to the same old Lonzo, not an ounce of confidence to be found.

We can thank Luke Walton for that.

Despite Luke Walton’s horrible coaching and mismanaging of his young players, Lonzo still found a way to standout on the defensive end, putting immense pressure on whoever was handling the ball on the opposing team.

The Lakers are going to miss this dearly.

Yes, they have Anthony Davis who is one of the best shot blockers in the league, but he can’t block every shot. In basketball your defense is only as good as the front line. If your wing defenders can’t put pressure on the opposing offense then your team is going to give up a lot of points.

Who’s going to make up for the absence of Lonzo’s ball pressure?

Alex Caruso?

Lets not forget about Brandon Ingram, another one of their second overall picks. He showed promise last year, averaging 18.3 PPG, but LeBron doesn’t value promise. LeBron wants proven results. Like most millennial’s he wants instant gratification, and he saw Anthony Davis as his best way to attain it.

With his career coming to a close, I can understand why. I’m sure he feels like it’s now or never, and because of that, one year of Anthony Davis is well worth it, but is it worth it for the Lakers?

What happens if Anthony Davis becomes unhappy with his role on the team as many of LeBron’s counterparts have? Remember how dominant Chris Bosh was before he teamed up with LeBron? How About Kevin Love?

Both of those guys went from All-Stars, to stand in the corner, get out of LeBron’s way, and hope he kicks it out for me to shoot an occasional three. Will this be the case with Anthony Davis or is LeBron suddenly going to change the way he plays?

If you look at Chris Bosh’s and Kevin Love’s numbers the season before joining LeBron, versus the First season they joined LeBron, you see pretty significant changes. Chris Bosh’s point totals dropped nearly 6 points, and his rebounds by 2. Kevin Love on the other hand saw his point totals drop by 10 points and his rebounds by 3.

The effect was immediate.

Even if they do gel, we must ask ourselves, does Anthony Davis have what it takes to lead a team to the NBA Finals? He has Kyle Kuzma who can fill it up, but is a streaky shooter, and struggles with his shot selection.

Of course he also has LeBron James, but the King is turning 35 this year. LeBron, who has been the NBA’s all-time great Iron Man, sustained the worst injury of his career last year, forcing him to sit 17 consecutive games. He’s beginning to decline and will need more help than he ever has before.

Can Anthony Davis give it to him?

These are all fair questions that Lakers fan should have right now, but one question should stand out above them all: what happens when you don’t make it to the Finals next year?

You’ve given up two 2nd overall picks in Ball and Ingram, a first round pick and solid depth guy in Josh Hart, as well as three future draft selections including the 4th overall pick in this years draft. The Lakers gave up their future, what could have panned out to years and years of success, for one shot at a title next year.

They gave into LeBron’s demands and in the process, completely sidelined their franchises future. This has now become about getting The King one more ring before he bows out, and less about bringing the Los Angeles Lakers, the second most dominant franchise ever, back to their former glory.

Buckle up Lakers fans, it’s going to take even longer now.

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