How Close Are the Lakers to Dethroning the Warriors?
By Joel Deering
LeBron James is by far the most notable signing by the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. In addition to James, the Lakers have also signed well known names such as Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley. All of these signings, including the signing of LeBron James, have led to some criticism of the Lakers front office. Many NBA fans believe the Lakers are making all the wrong moves.
Yesterday as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a video of Colin Cowherd talking about how he thinks the Lakers are making all the right moves. In this video he referred to how the Warriors are the only team standing in the Lakers way of another championship. He then went on to say how the moves the Lakers are making this offseason are the right moves to beat the Warriors.
Cowherd didn’t say the Lakers are ready to beat the Warriors right now, but he did say they’re on the right track. I agree. The Lakers aren’t ready right now for the reasons everyone is saying the Lakers are having a bad offseason. They don’t have a lot of shooters around LeBron James and they don’t have a second star player. That’s not the formula to beat the Warriors. Most people think beating the Warriors is all about outshooting them. I can tell you right now, nobody is going to outshoot the Warriors.
Here’s where Cowherd’s take is interesting. Cowherd said the best way to beat the Warriors is to out tough them, not outshoot them. He referred to the Chicago Bulls when they had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. Almost that whole team was made up of tough guys. Those guys out toughed everyone.
The Golden State Warriors don’t have a group full of tough guys. You’ve got Draymond Green, and I guess you could consider Durant if you want. Then there’s Boogie Cousins, but he won’t play for a good portion of the season. Outside of those guys, the Warriors don’t have players who will out tough players. Cowherd mentioned how P.J. Tucker gave the Warriors fits last season because of his toughness. It’s players like Tucker who can mess with the Warriors.
JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, and Michael Beasley are all tough players who can give the Warriors fits. None of these guys are afraid to get tough with the Warriors. This Lakers team might not have the best shooters, but what they’ll have is a group of tough players who can mess with opponents heads.
I agree with Cowherd when he says the Lakers are on the right track to beating the Warriors. They might not be ready to dethrone them right now, but they’re getting there. With LeBron James teaching them, I expect young players like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart to grow exponentially this season. Mix that with their new group of tough guys and the Lakers have got themselves a pretty good team. Next season they can add another star like Kawhi Leonard to the mix, and then they’ll really be something to talk about.
Lakers fans should expect to be in the playoffs this season. They should expect to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. What they shouldn’t expect this season is to win a championship. If they win the championship this season that’s icing on the cake, but right now they should be happy with just the cake. Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office are building this team the right way, but the key word there is building. They haven’t been fully built yet, but the product is coming together. I think they’re closer to dethroning the Warriors than most probably think, but there are still a few moves left to make before they get there.