The Los Angeles Lakers made one of the NBA’s biggest free agency splashes in quite some time this summer when they signed LeBron James to a four-year contract.
Since then, they have signed Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Beasley. Though, the group of veterans each joined the team on respective one-year deals.
James, who has made eight straight appearances in the NBA Finals also hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2006. Albeit in the Eastern Conference, he’s taken far worse teams to the playoffs than this Lakers roster.
Yet, some are skeptical about the youth of the Lakers and the method with which they went about filling out the team around James.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, an unnamed Western Conference executive doesn’t believes the Lakers will reach the 2019 NBA Playoffs:
“I don’t think the Lakers make the playoffs,” said a Western Conference rival executive who questioned the experience of their talent outside James.
It is true that Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram have a combined five years of NBA experience. But the talent of this group is undeniable. And with the veteran leadership of Rondo, Stephenson, McGee and Beasley, as well as James, it’s hard to envision the Lakers not making the playoffs.
Particularly if the team deploys their version of a ‘Death Lineup’ featuring James at center and plenty of versatility on the court.
James, just last season, carried J.R. Smith, Jeff Green, and Tristan Thompson to the NBA finals. And while the Western Conference is tough, it usually goes that about 43-46 wins are necessary to make the postseason.
James hasn’t won fewer than 45 games in a season in over a decade. Obviously, the Lakers team is new and will need an adjustment period, but they have James, and making the playoffs shouldn’t necessarily be a worry with him.