Since the arrival of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, the Los Angeles Lakers have been aiming to build their own version of the Golden State Warriors’ “Death Lineup,” a small-ball unit that is capable of creating mismatches on offense but versatile enough to defend bigger opponents. Though their attempt to replicate the Warriors’ strategy last season was a complete failure, the Lakers currently have a better chance of creating a “Death Lineup” in Los Angeles.
After then-Lakers president Magic Johnson’s experiment failed, the Lakers decided to change their approach on how they would build the roster around James and Davis. Instead of filling their roster with playmakers, the Lakers made it a high priority to sign veterans who could defend and help them improve their floor spacing in the 2019-20 NBA season. And in his recent article, Alex Regla of Bleacher Report suggested three players who Lakers head coach Frank Vogel could pick to complete their “Death Lineup” with James and Davis.
Regla believes that the Lakers currently have plenty of options on their roster but for him, three guys stand out. These include Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, and Alex Caruso. It’s definitely not a surprise why Regla included Green and Kuzma in the Lakers’ projected “Death Lineup.” Green is a three-and-D wingman who has plenty of playoff and championship experience. In the 2019 NBA Finals, the veteran guard/forward worked hand-in-hand with reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA championship.
Meanwhile, despite their failure to acquire Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency period, most people believe that the Lakers already have a third superstar alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James in Kyle Kuzma. Though this will only be his third season in the NBA, Kuzma has already shown plenty of potential to become a legitimate NBA superstar in the league. The Lakers may have James and Davis, but veteran power forward Jared Dudley strongly believes that Kuzma will be the key for the Purple and Gold in the 2019-20 NBA season.
The inclusion of Alex Caruso would undeniably earn mixed reactions from fans, especially knowing that they have Rajon Rondo and Quinn Cook on their roster. However, Regla thinks that Caruso is the perfect man to complete the Lakers’ “Death Lineup” as its point guard.
“Although Caruso isn’t nearly as experienced as Rondo or even Cook, he has the necessary skills to mesh beside James, Davis, Green and Kuzma. The question is if Vogel will put faith in a mostly unproven product. Identifying and constructing a lineup that can squeak out difficult games will be a big first test for Vogel in proving he’s the man for the job. Not only in terms of wins and losses but also in changing the narrative.”
As of now, Vogel has yet to decide who will be part of the Lakers’ starting lineup next season. The outcome of the preseason is expected to play a major role in determining whether Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, and Alex Caruso will be the players completing the Lakers’ “Death Lineup” alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.