Lakers New Roster Prepares For Playoff Push After All-Star Break

The Lakers head out of the All-Star break as the 13th seed in the Western Conference at 27-32. It has not been an ideal season for the LakeShow, but with multiple moves at the trade deadline, it’s a whole new ballgame.

Rob Pelinka completely reorchestrated the roster around LeBron and AD, acquiring Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Mo Bamba. 

This group changes the dynamic from a big three with Russell Westbrook, which didn’t fit, to a team with a lot of depth.

Through 59 games, the Lakers have struggled to find consistent play. They have struggled to shoot the three, as they rank 26th in three-point percentage and 29th in three’s made per game.

LA also ranks 18th in defensive rating, putting them a little below the middle of the pack. 

However, the new roster gives the Lakers hope to make a real playoff push. They sit just two games back of the play-in tournament and 3.5 games back of the 6th seed.

The additions address the issues that the roster had throughout the season. Russell is shooting 39% from three, while Beasley has made 177 threes this season, which is the 8th most in the league. Bamba can even stretch the floor, as he is a 38.1% three-point shooter this season.

Defensively, Vanderbilt is a huge addition. He is a great defender, and his move to the starting lineup puts less pressure on LeBron to guard the opposing team’s best forward. This is crucial, as everyone filling a role and playing it will make it much easier for LeBron, at 38, who was being asked to do everything.

Now, LeBron does have the talent to take on a ton, but if you can take pressure off him, it can allow him to be more rested come playoff time.

The much-improved depth improves their shooting, defense, and youth. It’s going to come down to health for this squad. This fully healthy roster has only played one game together, where they defeated the Pelicans 120-102. 

It’s a very small sample size, but they showed how good of a team they can be. If the Lakers can stay healthy, they have a legitimate shot at competing for a title, with the star duo of LeBron and AD surrounded by great role players. 

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