The arrival of LeBron James in Los Angeles is expected to end the Lakers’ five-year playoff drought. However, the Lakers’ failure to surround him with other superstars makes them questionable to challenge the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, for Western Conference supremacy. After signing James, the Lakers made controversial acquisitions – Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee – whose fit with their best player remains a big question.
In a recent appearance on The Full 48 podcast with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (h/t Business Insider), former Cleveland Cavaliers David Griffin shared his insight on LeBron James and the Lakers. Griffin was one of the people who built the Cavaliers team that helped James fulfill his promise to bring an NBA championship title in Cleveland.
Griffin agrees with the idea that surrounding James with playmakers like Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball, and Lance Stephenson will ease the load on his shoulder during the regular season.
“I buy that they probably sold him to a huge degree on the notion that, ‘Look, we won’t ask as much of you in the regular season, so you have more in the tank in the playoffs. We’re going to put more play creation around you so that you don’t have to be asked to carry such a huge burden.’ Which is great if they’re elite playmakers. Which is great if they’re super high-end ball-dominant, efficient guys.”
However, Griffin believes the same thing won’t work in the postseason. When the NBA Playoffs comes, LeBron James is expected to be more involved in making decisions inside the court and creating opportunities for his teammates. That is when the Lakers will be needing more players who can finish plays, and as of now, Griffin thinks the Lakers lack those kinds of talents.
Another major problem Griffin sees with LeBron’s new team is chemistry. Since Kobe Bryant retired, the 2018-19 NBA season will be the first time the Lakers will be having a legitimate superstar on their team. In the 2014-15 NBA season, the Cavaliers had gone through ups and downs despite having the “Big Three” of James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. However, the Cavaliers managed to pull themselves together and succeeded to fully dominate the Eastern Conference.
Griffin said that the Lakers can’t expect the same thing to happen since the competition in the Eastern Conference is very much different in the Western Conference. The Lakers should do everything they can to immediately build a good chemistry and see what pieces fit together. If they don’t, Griffin predicted that the Lakers may end up failing to earn a playoff spot in the Western Conference next season.