Heading into the season, all eyes were on Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and how he would rehabilitate his team's roster after enduring their worst season in franchise history. With LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis taking most of the team's cap space, Pelinka was dealt a bad hand by being tasked to surround his All-Stars with mostly veteran minimum signees. With two games in the books, it didn't take long for the purple and gold to showcase their early glaring flaws.
The Lakers' early glaring flaws
In their last two games against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers only converted 19 (22%) out of their 85 attempts from the 3-point area, the worst percentage by any team throughout 2 games in NBA history.
So right after the game, TNT Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley didn't hold back in criticizing the Lakers' front office for surrounding LeBron James with incompetent teammates in his 20th year. While he didn't drop any names in particular, the Hall-of-Famer subtly held Pelinka and co. accountable for the disappointing product they formed not just in the past two games, but also in the past 2 seasons.
"The Lakers sucked yesterday and they sucked again today," Barkley reiterated. "Last year and this year, what they're putting around LeBron is an embarrassment. Last year, they put on geezers around him and what they got there around him now, somebody's not doing their job in L.A. period," Barkley added.
James and Davis, who combined for 45 points, needed a lot more help from Westbrook, who only scored 2 points in 0-11 shooting from the field. Aside from 5 vital steals, Westbrook had a rather forgettable outing after failing to convert a single field goal throughout the game — his worst offensive performance since going 0-3 in 2016 against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers are one call away from fixing their issues
As it currently stands, the Indiana Pacers' trade offer of Myles Turner and Buddy Hield in exchange for Westbrook's contract and the Lakers' last two first-round picks for the decade is still on the table. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Pelinka and the front office have decided to wait until Thanksgiving before pulling the trigger and perhaps improving their team.
Whether or not the Pacers' package of Turner and Hield significantly improves the Lakers' hopes to win a championship remains uncertain, but it, at the very least, could solve their shooting and height concerns. With 2 early games and losses out of the way, it'll be up to the Lakers brass to surround James and Davis with a more balanced and competent roster — because if there's one thing we learned about employing LeBron James, it's that no time must be wasted to maximize the twilight years of his career.