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30 Teams in 30 Days: Lakers search for answers after letdown season

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The Lakers hope the superstar trio can play together more in 2022-23 than they did in 2021-22.

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2021-22 Records: 33-49

Major additions: Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant, Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker & Juan Toscano-Anderson (free agency), Patrick Beverly (trade), Coach Durbin Hamm

Main subtraction: Tarren Horton-Tucker & Stanley Johnson (trade), Malik Monk (free agency), coach Frank Vogel

Last season: If Hollywood wanted to write the perfect basketball horror movie script, it didn’t have to go very far. All in all, the Lakers failed to make the playoffs, dealt with Russell Westbrook’s near-night grumpiness, LeBron James wasted fight time, wasted a winning season, and dealt with a season-ending injury. It was a disappointing picture by Anthony Davis (again), all of which failed the fanbase. It was Vogel who suffered the most, showing the door mainly because the Lakers’ defense was spotty, but also because they didn’t win enough.

Summer summary: The once-proud Lakers rebuild was forced into an immediate and largely expected setback once Westbrook lost. exercised a player option For 2022-23. Of course, if he had declined, the entire basketball world would have him tested for a fever. He can’t pass up the chance to make $47 million easily. No matter how eventful Westbrook’s season was, no matter how much his fanbase wanted him out.

But as Westbrook focused on next season, the Lakers’ options became limited.They couldn’t replace him without packaging him in sweetener — they’re still paying back the Pelicans for acquiring Davis in 2019 — and Also Getting back bad contracts and players from other teams. Basically, the Lakers tried this summer, but keeping Westbrook was the best option (unless something changed in training his camp or his 11 hours ahead of the season).

Westbrook may be secretly unhappy with the Lakers given what he’s been through. As an unrestricted free agent, Westbrook could get a fraction of that $47 million. We would have been lucky if we could. If he decides to continue playing beyond this season, he will undoubtedly set his NBA record for the biggest payouts. So yeah, Westbrook was going to come back.

Will LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook succeed in 2022-23?

Plagued by the salary cap, the Lakers could only offer exceptions to rotation add-ons such as Brown, Walker and Bryant. Nothing to change dramatically either.but he Transferred to the Sacramento Kings In free agency for a little more money and perhaps a meatier role.

In that sense, perhaps the most important addition was hamHe’s the first coach to venture into the quagmire of potential, but I highly recommend Hamm. He spent much of his apprenticeship under Mike Budenholzer, first with the Atlanta Hawks, Then most recently, he spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks (who won the title in 2021).

Hamm is calm and rational, which seems to be ideal qualities for this job. He says he has plans to make Westbrook less reckless on the ball and put him in a spot where he doesn’t have to rely on outside shots (which was scary at times). The defender gave Westbrook all the room he wanted and let him take the shot. This seems to have worked because he shot 29.8% of his 3-pointers (and being a career 30.5% of his 3-point shooters).

Expectations are high for newly hired Lakers coach Durbin Hamm, who is expected to lead Los Angeles to greater success in 2022-23.

It makes sense for Westbrook to play more with the ball, and that means taking the ball away from James. I am very interested in how to handle it.

Speaking of sensitive situations: trade with utah jazz for beverly So he was put in the same locker room as his longtime rival Westbrook, looking like a cartoon. Once again, let’s see how Westbrook handles this.

For the most part, the Lakers’ success rate this season will depend more on Davis’ health than on Westbrook. He has had to heal his sprained leg all summer and, if not, is expected to give his best when training his camp begins.

The final piece of summer business involving the Lakers and James Agreed to extend for 2 years, he holds an option year in his second year. LeBron wants the chance to team up with eldest son Bronnie when he qualifies to play in the league two years after him. But that’s an issue for the future.

The Lakers are too focused on the present and failed to present many major solutions this summer.

next: Dallas Mavericks | | Before: cleveland cavaliers

> 30 teams in 30 days: full schedule

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Sean Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years.you can email him find here here is his archive and follow him twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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