The Los Angeles Lakers were the most active team in the free-agency, completely reshaping their roster for the upcoming season. They kept a few of the players from their last season and added a few more experienced players that they believe would help them reach the NBA Finals again. The two most prominent names they add are Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, who are finally looking to win a championship in the late stage of their HOF careers.
There are many question marks coming into the new season on whether the Lakers will find a way to make things work and build the chemistry at the right time. Carmelo will be a crucial part of this mix, and the main question that presents itself is whether the Carmelo experiment will work for the Lakers. Former NBA player and Lakers legend Michael Cooper talked about the Lakers in the new episode of the It’s Showtime podcast.
Cooper argues that Carmelo is experienced enough to realize he is no longer the main guy on a team and that accepting a lesser role is crucial for their success. We’ve seen Carmelo resurrect his career with the Blazers the last two seasons, in which he came off the bench providing the much-needed scoring for them, and he will have the same role with the Lakers.
You are in the La-La land, Hollywood; this is going to be a soap opera. I think having Carmelo is not a bad idea. His time in Portland has really given him an ego check. Carmelo is a good guy; he really is. He just wants to win, but again when you have always been a scorer all the way back from your AAU when you were 11 years old, its hard to change, but I think he changed that. It’s a great landing spot for Carmelo, who wouldn’t want to be in Los Angeles. If they put those four stars together, I think that will be okay.Michael Cooper, via It’s Showtime
Cooper also talked about the rest of the Lakers fitting in well with the existing group, especially Russell Westbrook, who will be an x-factor for this team and their potential success. LeBron successfully made Kyrie Irving buy into the system when they were both in Cleveland, and Cooper is convinced he can do the same thing now with Westbrook on the Lakers. We can also expect Anthony Davis to have the balls in his hands more because they will need his scoring now more than ever and him doing what he does best, and that is being dominant on both ends of the floor.
If LeBron got Kyrie Irving to buy-in when he was in Cleveland. He let Kyrie do a lot of scoring, which also helps LeBron. I think he can work that magic with Westbrook. AD is another in the mix guy, and the only way AD is going to be that superstar player if he has the basketball and Westbrook knows that coming in. Last but not least, coach Vogel will have a big fun time with load management because know you can sit LeBron 5,10 games and let Russell Westbrook do his thing and all he has to do is be competitive and competent with AD and the players they got in. They are going to be successful, it’s going to be fun to watch them.Michael Cooper, via It’s Showtime
Just like any team that completely changed its roster, it will take some time for the Lakers to figure things out when the season starts. Building chemistry is a sensitive issue, and some teams figure it out while others don’t, which leads to an internal implosion within the team. The Lakers have many experienced veterans on their squad, which is great because they have the experience and knowledge to make it work; however, their health in combination with the long regular season might be a challenge. No matter what happens, there is no question the Lakers are going to play showtime basketball. Several players on that team have a chip on their shoulders, which is a good motivation to make it work and showcase they are a championship-caliber team.