More than one year since being hired as Lakers president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson has fulfilled his promise to bring a superstar in Los Angeles. The Lakers’ biggest acquisition in the 2018 NBA free agency isn’t just a superstar but someone who is currently considered as the best basketball player on the planet. Having LeBron James on the team, the Lakers are expected to end their five-year playoff drought next season.
However, even with the addition of LeBron James to their team, it remains a big question mark if the Lakers have the capability to challenge the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, for Western Conference supremacy. In the recent free agency, the star-studded Warriors just got stronger with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins is still recovering from injury and expected to miss the most of the 2018-19 regular season. However, when he returns, the Warriors will have a starting lineup featuring five NBA All-Stars. Despite the massive improvement on the Warriors’ roster, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson doesn’t seem worried about facing them in the Western Conference Playoffs.
In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live (h/t SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll), Johnson said he’s “not scared” with the Warriors and added that the Lakers are a “solid team.”
“I think that we’ll look forward to that challenge. Everybody expects Golden State to win again but I would love to have the challenge to play them in the Western Conference Finals if we can get to that position. I’m a competitor, so I’m not scared of Golden State. I’m not worried about Golden State. They don’t keep me up at night. I know that we have a really solid team, a good team, and a tough-minded team. And we got guys now who are winners.”
— Lonzo Wire (@LonzoWire) July 20, 2018
Magic Johnson believes players like LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and JaVale McGee will bring a championship mentality to the Lakers. The Lakers earned plenty of criticisms when they signed Rondo, McGee, and Lance Stephenson. None of those players were accurate shooters, making them an odd fit with James.
However, Johnson said that they properly consulted James with every move they make this offseason. Both NBA greats have agreed that they can’t beat the Warriors on their own game so they are currently doing some experiments that could possibly put an end to Golden State’s dynasty. A previous Inquisitr article revealed that the Lakers are planning to create their own version of Warriors’ “Death Lineup” with James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball.
As of now, it remains unknown if the Lakers can find success next season. However, most NBA fans are surely thrilled to see the Purple and Gold back from being a competitive team once again.