Preview 2022/23 |  The Lakers want to recover their health

Preview 2022/23 | The Lakers want to recover their health



While the preseason is in full swing, USA Basketball continues its traditional presentation, team by team, of the upcoming NBA season. This takes, as every year, the form of a countdown, from the worst record in the league to our favorite for the title of champion.

The time has come to raise the case Lakers. Lakers who remain on a completely failed campaign, synonymous with the absence of the playoffs, and who will have to remove a lot of doubts in order to find the postseason next spring. Although players of the caliber of LeBron James, Anthony Davis Where Russell Westbrook are still on the Pacific coast and that Darvin Ham was appointed to replace Frank Vogel…

In fact, stacking superstar does not automatically guarantee success in the NBA and the “Purple & Gold” have learned this the hard way in 2021/22. Despite their XXL trio, they have thus failed in large widths collectively, without managing to find the right carburation and without managing to play together. On the one hand, because the styles of play of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook did not stick. On the other hand, because the physical glitches have regularly plagued Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

A LeBron James who, individually, has nevertheless done damage (in a vacuum) despite his 37 years. He could also continue to shine and enter the record books in 2022/23 with, as a highlight of this exercise, the status of the most prolific scorer in the history of the season. regular, which he should soon steal from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It remains to be seen whether he can shine individually apart from the soft underbelly…

Will he be able to get his fifth ring in Los Angeles one day? Nothing is less certain, only two years after his last coronation.

And it’s not the recent arrivals of Dennis Schröder Where Patrick Beverly which will drastically change the game. Especially if, at the same time, the Russell Westbrook bet still does not work and Rob Pelinka wants to wait longer, before dropping his future first two draft rounds (2027, 2029).


Arrivals : Dennis Schröder (Rockets), Patrick Beverley (Jazz), Damian Jones (Kings), Thomas Bryant (Wizards), Lonnie Walker IV (Spurs), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Warriors), Troy Brown Jr (Bulls), Max Christie ( Draft), Scotty Pippen Jr, Cole Swider
Departures : Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Kent Bazemore (Kings), Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson (Jazz), Avery Bradley, Wayne Ellington, DJ Augustin, Mac McClung, Mason Jones


Even more than LeBron James or Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis is THE key to the Lakers season. Too often injured for two years, when he was called upon to become the offensive and defensive leader of the team after the 2020 title, “AD” is now preparing for a pivotal year. At 29, he will have to play, play well and even play a lot, to finally silence his detractors, who blame him for his recurring physical fragility (78 missed games in 2020/21 and 2021/22…).

Yet when the All-Star interior is spared injury, he still remains one of the best in the league at his post (22.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals on average over the last two campaigns). In any case, Los Angeles will need a great “Unibrow” to defy the odds in 2022/23. Potentially, he has the shoulders to win the titles of MVP and / or Defender of the Year but, in fact, he has never had the health or the balance sheet to achieve it…

Clearly, it’s a nice challenge looming for Anthony Davis, new central point of the attack of the “Purple & Gold” according to Darvin Ham, in addition to still being the central point in defense.

As long as he is able to play more than two-thirds of the exercise, while maintaining the same level on each side of the floor and progressing in shooting or in aggression, there is therefore a good chance that Californians are having a boom season. Or, at least, more pomp than the previous one.

Average age: 28 years old
Payroll: $182.3 million (6th)


Many tend to forget it, but the last time the LeBron James – Anthony Davis tandem played a season fully spared from injury, the Lakers went all the way to the title. While the idea is obviously not to make them the favorites for this exercise, the “Purple & Gold” nevertheless invite themselves back into the Top 6 in the West, thanks to the good health of their flagship duo, able to carry the team every night.

Driving forces of the Californian franchise, LeBron James and Anthony Davis can count, as a bonus, on the rebirth of Russell Westbrook by their side. Withdrawn, more effective in attack and finally involved in defense, the MVP 2017 is transformed into role player luxury, content to take what the defenses give him and assume his responsibilities when James and/or Davis are resting. It must be said that the contribution of Darvin Ham does a lot of good for Westbrook and the “Big Three” angelenobalanced and from which he draws the best with his toughness and outspokenness.

Especially since, unlike last year, the second knives of Los Angeles ensure in the shadows and in different registers, like Dennis Schröder, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson or even Troy Brown Jr.

This recipe, tasty, thus brings the players of Los Angeles in the playoffs, without going through the “play-in” box, to squarely target the advantage of the field from the first round. All hopes will then be allowed, with a LeBron James – Anthony Davis – Russell Westbrook trio sharp and on the same wavelength…


As for two years, miracles are not allowed for the Lakers, far too unbalanced, fragile and poorly built to hope to join the playoffs directly.

Certainly productive and dominating when they are on their feet, LeBron James and Anthony Davis still do not manage to stay in shape for the long term, while Russell Westbrook has a hard time accepting to juggle between the new roles given to him. Clearly losing momentum and on the downward slope, the “Brodie” does not find its level of yesteryear and continues to be a weight for the team, both sportingly and financially…

Quickly, Rob Pelinka finds himself forced to transfer the 2017 MVP to prevent the locker room from exploding, but his rating is at its lowest and he has to let go of his Draft choices in the first round without obtaining a very interesting counterpart. To make matters worse, the irregular and insufficient contributions of Dennis Schröder, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker and other Thomas Bryant do not really allow the All-Stars to breathe, when they are not there. ‘Infirmary. Such a collective weakness, in defense as in attack, is inevitably problematic when one aims at least for the Top 8, in the so formidable Western conference.

Darvin Ham’s first year in California is therefore quickly forgotten, even if Los Angeles manages to grab the Top 10 to give itself a chance to snatch the playoffs during the “play-in”. A disappointing outcome, when you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis in its ranks, but it is ultimately quite logical, given the basketball practiced by the “Purple & Gold” throughout this exercise.

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