A classic among classics, the Global Franchise Preview is ready for the customer du jour. Head to Los Angeles to take a look at the Lakers, and get an overview of what happened, what’s happening and what could happen in Darvin Ham’s team for the 2022-23 NBA season.
What happened last season
An ordeal is pretty much the description of the Lakers’ season. They were announced as a potential steamroller after their starry summer recruitment but the mayonnaise never took in Los Angeles and injuries came to put LeBron James then Anthony Davis on the sidelines for long weeks. The Big 3 assembled with Russell Westbrook could only be fielded 21 times last year and even then we felt that the fit was not incredible. Back in his native California, Brodie hoped to come and win the ring after which he is so desperate, but his disappointing performances ended up boring the fans of the Crypto.com Arena, who did not hesitate to whistle him several times. We imagined LA finishing at a minimum in the Play-in Tournament, but the second half of the season was simply cataclysmic for the freewheeling Lakers. Between the All-Star Game and the end of the regular, the Purple and Gold had a record of 6 wins for… 18 losses. Enough to be caught up by the Pelicans but also the Spurs and finish in eleventh place, the place of the idiot. A huge failure that cost his place to Frank Vogel, fired a second after his last match. Legend has it that he didn’t even have time to take a shower.
The summer market
- They leave : Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Stanley Johnson, Mac McClung, D.J. Augustin, Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Mason Jones
- They extend: LeBron James
- They arrive : Dennis Schröder, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Thomas Bryant, Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr., Scotty Pippen Jr., Cole Swider
Last summer, Rob Pelinka had bet on a host of veterans, formerly All-Stars for the most part, in order to aim for the heights again. The catastrophic season of his people pushed the GM to drastically change his plans. Say goodbye to the elders at the end of the road and we replace them with players in their prime, boys who have less mileage on the clock. Finances in the red oblige, LA was only able to offer minimum contracts or the mid-level exception for shopping. Dennis Schröder arrives after a magnificent EuroBasket with Germany, Lonnie Walker IV will try to partially compensate for the departure of Malik Monk off the bench, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Troy Brown are good additions on the wings while Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones reinforce the racket. Besides that, Patrick Beverley arrives to replace the disappointing Talen Horton-Tucker and he comes to find his old enemy Russell Westbrook, whom Rob Pelinka failed to trade this summer. Given the current workforce and the gaps to be filled, we could well see one or more new trades in the coming months.
Los Angeles Lakers 2022-23 roster
- Leaders : Russell WestbrookPatrick Beverley, Dennis Schröder, Scotty Pippen Jr. (TW)
- Rears : Kendrick NunnLonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Max Christie
- Wingers : LeBron JamesTroy Brown Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson, Cole Swider (TW)
- Power forwards : Anthony DavisWenyen Gabriel
- Pivots : Damian JonesThomas Bryant
In orange the expected starters, according to the famous sources close to the file
Darvin Ham having been very mysterious during the Media Day, it is still vague concerning the starting five of the Lakers and in particular the role of Russell Westbrook this season. We wish good luck to those who want to guess the plans of the new Lakers coach. For the rest of the squad, a little traffic jam on the backcourt, well lined positions on the frontcourt, which should allow Ham to play with a “classic” five or a more small ball configuration with Davis in five and possibly LeBron James who would probably shift in four by sequences. For the rest, the shortcomings still seem quite clear with few shooters and big defensive limits on the exteriors.
A little video by the way?
Los Angeles Lakers 2022-23 salaries
TTFL: Lakers players to watch
In two names: LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Monstrous last season, the King remains one of the most reliable players in the TTFL and will once again be among our favorite picks this season. By his side, Anthony Davis remains a sacred monster of the TrashTalk Fantasy League, one of the few players who can approach 100 points each season. Behind them, only Russell Westbrook can be an interesting choice but the irregularity of the boy and his uncertain role this season (sixth man?) mean that Brodie will perhaps be a little less valuable than in the past.
Lakers infirmary, injury update
When we look at the Lakers infirmary, six names stand out. Thomas Bryant for starters, returned to the Wizards mid-season, leaving the infirmary after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Quickly released from the rotation in Washington, he announced that he was 100% for the recovery. Kendrick Nunn, meanwhile, had a missed season following a bone bruise in his right knee suffered during preseason. While the majority of players come back quickly, he had to slow down his rehabilitation several times to avoid a stress fracture. He has just been authorized for contact and is currently participating in the training camp. Dennis Schroeder, for his part, experienced several alerts last season. He missed one game in November and four in March with right ankle sprains before missing the final seven games of the season with shoulder pain. Well in shape at the EuroBasket, all he has to do is solve his visa problems to join the training camp. LeBron James also had several alerts last season. He missed two games for a sprained right ankle in October, ten in total for rectus abdominal muscle tendinopathy, six for left knee inflammation and seven for a left ankle sprain. Many sores last season for LeBron and the Lakers know it: it will have to be preserved this season. Patrick Beverley only experienced two real alerts last season. He missed six games in November for a pulled left groin and eleven in total for a sprained right ankle (five in January and six for the rest of the season). Anthony Davis, finally, still spent time in the infirmary. First alert in December with two games missed due to left knee pain following a shock with Jaden MacDaniels then, returning too soon, he was finally absent for seventeen games after being diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Second alert in January: he missed a match for pain in his right wrist which bothered him until the end of the season. Last alert in February: a sprained right foot caused him to miss eighteen matches. To conclude, many players to watch on the side of the Lakers, with stars that will have to be saved and pampered to avoid a new series of injuries.
What goals this season?
With a LeBron James – Anthony Davis – Russell Westbrook trio on the floor, the Lakers can’t or at least don’t have the right to hide. The title is obviously the objective but, at the moment T, it seems highly improbable given the workforce in place, the dynamics of last season and competition which has only strengthened in recent months. Before talking about Larry O’Brien, LA must already get its head straight and find some certainties on the ground. The defense, which was the pride of the champion group in 2020, sank and the attack is far too dependent on the exploits of a LeBron James in cyborg mode but who has been around the infirmary more than ever before. The King will still be there in 2023 but he badly needs his step-up teammates and it starts with an Anthony Davis who must establish himself as the leader of this group. Defensively as offensively, the Brow is the key to a great season in Los Angeles but his body must leave him (finally) in peace.
It remains to be seen what will become of Russell Westbrook. Announced in several trade rumors, the marsupilami is still in place and he too could have a major role in his club’s ambitions. Either by accepting a different role (sixth man?), or by packing for LA to get role players who will bring shooting and defense. This group is sorely lacking in 3&D, profiles that have always been very important around LeBron James. If the Lakers want to compete for anything other than the Play-in, Rob Pelinka may have to move his pawns during the season. We are of course thinking of Brodie and the two picks from Draft 2027 and 2029.
The Editor’s Prognosis
39 wins – 43 losses: 9th place in the West.
Very difficult to project on the potential of these Lakers. On the one hand, there’s still hope for a fit LeBron/AD duo that can carry the team like they did in the Orlando bubble. On the other hand, we suspect that sores are still likely to cause problems and the workforce around is not incredible either. What about Westbrook’s role? Will everyone be at the service of the collective or will the locker room still look like a powder keg like last year? The arrival of Darvin Ham brings a breath of fresh air to a band that clearly needs new ideas to move forward but which seems to be at the end of the cycle at the same time. Suffice to say that a new exercise like last year’s could cause heads to roll at all levels (Rob Pelinka?).
Some useful links
Here is the Lakers preview for the 2022-23 season, and Los Angeles hopes to vibrate again with the atmosphere of the Playoffs. The Big 3 of the Angelinos begins its year II in the City of Angels and the threshold of error seems minimal. The Lakers contenders, do we believe it or not?