With a lineup that now features Anthony Davis and a slew of complementary players such as Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all added during the 2019 offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are heading into the second year of the LeBron James era with great expectations from fans and analysts alike. But that hasn’t stopped some concerns from arising heading into the 2019-20 campaign, and with that in mind, the Lakers were recently named by Bleacher Report as one of the five teams that may be among the most disappointing in the coming season.
After citing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s recent injury histories as a reason why the Los Angeles Clippers might disappoint in 2019-20, Bleacher Report‘s Preston Ellis explained on Tuesday that the crosstown Lakers could also fail to live up to expectations once regular-season NBA action begins later this month. Although Ellis predicted that James and Davis could easily put up big numbers en route to an All-NBA first- or second-team selection, he added that both superstars don’t have the supporting casts present on other Western Conference powerhouse rosters such as the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets.
Aside from having a thin rotation at multiple positions, the Lakers could also struggle because of the fact they have the third-oldest roster in the entire league, wrote Ellis. Several of their key players, including Green, Howard, Rajon Rondo, and backup forward Jared Dudley, are in their early-to-mid-30s, with Bradley set to turn 29-years-old next month. And while the Lakers have a bright young star in projected starting small forward Kyle Kuzma, the incoming third-year talent is currently recovering from a foot injury that is expected to keep him out of action “indefinitely.”
AD praises Rondo & Bradley's start to camp. pic.twitter.com/p4ZpQYoGYg— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 1, 2019
Given the Lakers’ lack of salary-cap space and future draft picks, Ellis suggested that the Lakers’ best bet to address their lack of depth is to sign Memphis Grizzlies wingman Andre Iguodala, assuming the team buys out his contract as some are expecting. But with December 15 being the earliest date for recent free-agent additions to become eligible for a trade, the Bleacher Report writer added that the Grizzlies might also wait until then and see if they can get something in return for the 35-year-old former NBA Finals MVP.
“The Lakers have a star-heavy group capable of going deep in the playoffs,” Ellis concluded. “But they will need a lot of luck to surpass teams in the West that are deeper, younger and bereft of the drama and expectations that will follow them all season.”
Ellis didn’t specify where he expects the Lakers to place in the 2019-20 NBA season due to their perceived roster issues. However, FiveThirtyEight‘s most recent forecasts predict that the team will finish with a 46-36 regular-season record in 2019-20, with only an 11 percent chance of winning an NBA championship at next year’s Finals.