After a season riddled with injury and disappointment, the Los Angeles Lakers made major strides during the NBA offseason to return as champions by not only forming a new Big Three, but also establishing a superteam.
With the acquisition of All-Star Russell Westbrook via trade on draft night, the Lakers have signaled they are going all out in this upcoming season. Westbrook, a former league MVP, joins current Laker stars Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
All three players are established superstar-level talent who have all been the main star on their former teams in the past. Now, they are teammates.
Adding the caliber player of Westbrook to the roster required depleting the depth of the team. The trade required giving up key rotation players from the 2020 title team, including Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell Pope.
The Lakers gave up veterans and last year’s free agency additions that did not work out in order to retool around this newly formed Big Three trio. In order to improve from last year, the roster was constructed with well-known free agents.
The appeal of playing with the Lakers and living in Los Angeles has always been an option for Hollywood-starved free agents. The Lakers forming their own Big Three has generated created an even bigger interest in the team.
Free agents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Deandre Jordan, and Rajon Rondo, all signed with the Lakers during free agency.
[The] majority of players that signed with the Lakers are all established players in this league or have quality playoff experience.
Adding size around Davis and shooters to aid James and Westbrook is crucial to the success of the Lakers. With the level of talent that the Lakers have added, they have essentially formed a superteam. The only goal now is to win a championship.
Whenever a superteam is formed, the process of developing chemistry with one another and learning how to play with another is very important. When speaking to reporters on media day, one common word that was used among players was sacrifice.
Sacrifice is something that the Lakers have to embrace for this team to take off. Sacrifices must be made in order for the superteam to work. With training camp now underway the process of developing chemistry is taking place.
“Just in this first practice alone, we passed up a lot of shots to find the next guy and that might be over sacrificing,” Davis said. “I don’t think anyone on this team is selfish.”
Being that the level of talent on the Lakers is much more experienced than other superteams in the past, there is a lack of worry from the players that the team won’t come together.
“This team has been assembled the right way with the right pieces,” remarked Anthony. “I think where we are in our careers, and understanding all we have to do and sacrifices we all have to make is the beauty of the journey.”
Westbrook echoed Anthony’s sentiments.
“There may be times where it looks like it may not work and there will be times where it is clicking on all cylinders, as a team you gotta understand that and that it’s gonna be a process,” Westbrook said.
The Lakers are a team combined with star power and quality experience. The moniker of a superteam has already been labeled. There’s been a lot of player turnover in order to create this team. The caveat is here is that all these veteran free agents have made the Lakers the oldest team in the league.
However, there is enough talent for this team to make a strong push for a championship. The last time the Lakers had a Big Three and were a superteam was in 2013. That season ended in heavy disappointment. Now this 2021 Lakers superteam aims to dispute all the negative narratives and add a possible 18th NBA title.
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson defends during the first half of an NBA basketball Western Conference Play-In game Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)