The L.A. Lakers are currently 5-7 without LeBron James on the court, after a shock win against Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. As the Lakers currently sit at 8th in the Western Conference standings, the state of the team without LeBron is becoming quite the issue, especially for the Lakers front office.
Of course, when a team is missing their superstar player, it is expected that they will lose games and drop down the rankings, but the recent Lakers games have proved to show how reliant the team is on LeBron to lead the charge.
The team is led by the Lakers young core, all of which are 23 years old and younger, the knock-on effect of this is inconsistency. The greatest example of this has been Kyle Kuzma, the oldest of the aforementioned core, who recently dropped 41 points against the Detroit Pistons, however this outstanding offence has not been kept up by Kuzma as recently he only scored 11 points against the Utah Jazz and 16 against the Chicago Bulls.
As the young core has failed to lead the team effectively and has a negative record without James to show for it, the state of the team shows the biggest issue concerning the Lakers, it’s not a complete roster.
The problem with relying on one superstar to lead the team is that you place all your eggs in a basket, and when the basket, or player in this case, cannot perform, your team collapses as a result.
A solution to this issue would be to secure a co-star for James to lead the Lakers with.
It’s no secret that the Lakers have been actively trying to recruit Anthony Davis, this would solve many of the issues plaguing the team. This shows the budget-minded approach of the Lakers front office to be ineffective, the team have been looking to sign free-agents to one-year contracts and avoid trading players with long contracts in order to utilise future salary cap space.
In addition to this, the Lakers signed no big shooters and missed out on Marco Belinelli as he returned to the San Antonio Spurs. Josh Hart leads the team in 3-point percentage, but as a young player is still inconsistent and unable to carry the team. The front office put too much focus on signing LeBron and while they achieved their goal, they have only suffered the consequences of their approach as the Lakers without James have crumbled.
While LeBron is expected to return to practice next week, the worries of reinjury will be plaguing the minds of the players and management of the Lakers alike. Similarly, the effects of reversibility could affect LeBron, something that ruined the years of Kobe Bryant’s career following his injury.
For the Lakers to bounce back and make themselves a playoff-contender again, the front office will need to look to sign a high-level player to aid LeBron James and lead the team while LeBron recovers. This will be a gruelling task, but it’s all that the team can hope to do in order to help the team succeed.