The Lakers are saving their season. Here’s how.


Rowan Witzel, Staff Writer

Since their 2020 NBA Finals win, the Lakers have been a shell of their former selves. Whether it was because of their aging roster or lack of shooters, the 17-time champs have not been able to hold their spot as one of the top teams in the NBA. After starting the season 0-5, this seemed to be the case once again. Fans wrote the team off, believing that this was truly the end of their Big 3 era that was hoping to cement themselves in Lakers history. This all changed after a lineup switch and the rise of an MVP candidate, replacing doubt and sorrow with hope for a winning season.

New Leader
The main part of the Lakers’ newfound success has been the resurgence of Anthony Davis as one of the best players in the league. He’s shown dominance that we haven’t seen since his New Orleans days, averaging 27.7 ppg and 12.4 rpg while playing 23 out of the team’s 26 games. His return has also allowed LeBron James to take a backseat in scoring and focus on a more playmaking-centric role, similar to the one that led the Lakers in 2020. Barring no major injuries that have been haunting him for the past few years, AD should find himself in the MVP conversation while also leading the Lakers deep into the playoffs.

New Lineup
After last season, it was clear that the Lakers cannot produce a winning team with their big three on the court at the same time. With Russell Westbrook and James’ reliance on having the ball in their hands and inability to create space off the ball, whoever was not bringing the ball up would be a liability for the Lakers’ half court offense.

After starting the year 0-3, coach Darvin Ham finally separated his two point guards by moving Westbrook to the bench, allowing him and LeBron to both lead whatever unit they are in. This significantly improved the Lakers offense and Westbrook’s numbers, who’s averaging 10.3 ppg and 4.3 apg as a starter and 14.5 ppg and 7.9 apg off the bench.

New Trade Targets
Although the recent Lakers have shown flashes of a team that could contend for a championship, just contending will not be enough. With LeBron steadily exiting out of his prime, their window to win another championship is closing; and a trade has to be made.

Ranking dead last in 3pt% this year, the Lakers do not have the shooting that it takes to win a championship in the modern era. After trading away almost their entire young core for Anthony Davis, it became clear that they are all in on winning a ring right now. With multiple first round picks still in their inventory, a trade for an elite wing shooter is very possible.

Trade talks have been made with the Indiana Pacers in which the Lakers would acquire Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but the front office is firm right now on keeping the two future firsts that would have to be sent in the deal. We’ve seen how a shooting big like Turner excels in a LeBron-led offense, and the addition of sharpshooting guard Hield makes the trade all worth it.

If the Lakers are still unwilling to deal both of their future firsts, a trade should be made for the Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic, who is having the best season of his career so far. Averaging 43% from 3, a shooter like Bogdanovic is the final piece the Lakers need to contend. He also matched up against Luka Doncic in the playoffs last year, adding the toughness needed to boost a Lakers defense that is giving up the 5th most points to opposing teams.

The Future
With over half the season left to go, the Lakers still have time to return to greatness. If their superstar players continue to stay healthy and the necessary moves are made before the trade deadline, their 18th banner could very well be hung up at the end of the season.