Behind one of their best games the whole year, the Los Angeles Lakers clobbered the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Finals, bringing back the Larry O’Brien trophy to Los Angeles. LeBron James bagged his fourth Finals MVP award, and Anthony Davis took home his first NBA championship.
From the return of Dwight Howard to former Boston Celtics champ Rajon Rondo winning the ‘chip in LA, it was a great storybook ending for the purple-and-gold squad. Tragedy struck the storied franchise after the passing of the late great Kobe Bryant, but life went on for the organization.
Now that they have secured their 17th championship banner, the question now lies on how sustainable this success is for the Lakers. LeBron is turning 36 years old this December, and the team can’t afford to relax if they want to clinch back-to-back titles. Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office will be focusing on these moves to solidify their chances of repeating a championship run next year.
Secure a long-term deal for Davis
Anthony Davis didn’t just snag his first championship, but he proved to everyone that he is a winner. He failed to steer the New Orleans Pelicans to deep playoff runs, and people doubted if he has that winning DNA in his skillset. But it became evident, especially during the Finals, that Davis could be a top option for a championship-caliber squad.
LeBron may have won the Finals MVP plum, but it was AD’s dominance on both offense and defense that spelled the difference between winning and losing. The All-Star big man still has a player option left in his current contract, but reports say that he will be opting out to enter unrestricted free agency.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine Davis parting with the Lakers after one championship. He is just in the initial stages of his prime years, and the Lakers view him as their cornerstone for the future.
Continuity is the answer
Even though we always say this year after year, Father Time will eventually catch up to LeBron. But the four-time MVP has found ways on delaying the inevitable, and he’s doing that by focusing more on facilitating in the regular season and preserving his body for the grind of a playoff run.
Having said that, the Lakers shouldn’t deviate from the status quo. They should acquire more shooters who can defend and make the right decisions with the ball. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a revelation in the Finals. Danny Green, in spite of his shooting struggles, was a steady presence on the team’s perimeter defense.
It won’t hurt if the Lakers acquire a proven shot creator, but surrounding LeBron with an arsenal of deadly long-range gunners is obviously the perfect recipe for success. On top of that, Davis is also becoming more adept in making plays in the post as we saw how he would constantly find open shooters when double-teamed.
The Lakers will be banking on more improvements from Kyle Kuzma next season, as well as probably a bigger role for Alex Caruso. But we’ll see more playmaking from an aging LeBron, and you need capable shooters to do that.