Lakers offseason 2020
Photo Credit: Klutch Sports Group

Lakers Offseason 2020: How the Lakers Lineup Will Look

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Even though the NBA free agency peroid started just days ago, the world champion Los Angeles Lakers have not only reshaped their roster but also imporved it the most so far.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: ClutchPoints

They lost productive players such as Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, and Rajon Rondo. Despite that, they found a way to sign even more dominant plays that will help them out. They signed Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and recently signed Marc Gasol. Those names alone are an upgrade, but what does this really mean to the Lakers, and what adjustments will they have to make heading into the season?

This article will analyze what they will do with their new lineup and discuss its positives and negatives.

With all the new players acquired, there is not much more the Lakers can really do to improve their team. There should not be any more moves that will make people freak out as they already have. Analyzing their lineup is possible at this point. It is nearly guaranteed that Anthony Davis will resign, so their team will consist of many players that have similar roles to those before.

 

 

LeBron James and Davis will be the leaders of the team and keep the same exact roles that they had before. But the bench is deeper and provides more offrnsive fire power. 

 

Wesley Matthews
Photo Credit: NBA

James will be the point guard since it worked so well last season, and Davis will be the dominant power forward since that’s his natural position. The Lakers have a huge amount of depth at every position, so there is no reason for Davis to play center unless it’s an emergency or a major mismatch in their favor. 

Gasol will be the starting center of this team and play a similar role to JaVale McGee’s (who they just traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers), just at a better level than he could. He can also play many more minutes since he averaged 26.4 minutes per game last year, so it’s safe to say that he will be the starter. Harrell is great at scoring; one of their biggest flaws was scoring when James was off the floor, which I’ll get into more later. 

Their starting shooting guard will be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope because he started there for the playoffs. Even though Avery Bradley played there during the regular season, putting in Caldwell-Pope proved to be a good decision as he had no problems starting there. He also shot a career-high 38.5 percent from three last season, so there is no reason to change his role.

Their starting small forward must be Matthews because he is the perfect player on paper to replace Green. They played similar minutes, and both shot decimal digits off from 36 percent from three last season. Matthews is also a catch and shoot player as he doesn’t dribble or create opportunities for himself well, just like Green, and excels at corner three-pointers. Matthews will perfectly fit into that position.

 

The biggest improvement for the Lakers this off season is their bench.

 

Dennis Schroder
Photo Credit: NBA

Many people are saying Schroder should start, but he is the perfect player to replace Rondo. The Lakers starting lineup proved successful, and since Gasol is better than JaVale and Howard, it will only get better. Making the bench better is an important factor since the Lakers struggled when James was off the floor. Schroder is a good person to handle the ball, and he has great passer vision as Rondo did.

The only major difference between the two is that Schroder can create his own shot, and Rondo can not. People debate that Rondo is a slightly better passer and defender, but Schroder more than makes up for it with his scoring ability. He averaged 18.9 points per game last season, while Rondo only averaged 7.1. Schroder averaged one less assist but shot 46.9 percent from the floor, while Rondo shot 41.8. Schroder can play more minutes so the Lakers can set up the lineup where Schroder will get some playing time with James but won’t start with him. Like how Rondo played many minutes with James in the playoffs despite not being a starter. 

Schroder coming off the bench will be a huge improvement for the Lakers bench scoring-wise. It does not end there, though, because Harrell will be coming off the bench too. He will split minutes with Gasol depending on what they need more. Gasol is a better overall player, so he will be playing more minutes, but if the Lakers need pure scoring with less defense, they will increase Harrell’s minutes. He will not be a starter for the Lakers, but he will be playing center off the bench. He should be able to get some buckets, and give Gasol some rest is the perfect way to fit him in with the team. Having Davis behind him will help Harrell’s defense having a player with Davis’s defensive skill set playing behind him.  

With those roles being assigned, the rest of the Lakers bench will be the same as during the playoffs and towards the end of last year. Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma will be the forwards while Alex Caruso will fit in the shooting guard spot.

 

 

Since the player’s roles are settled, what are their positives and negatives?

 

Frank Vogel
Photo Credit: The Athletic

There are not many negatives to this team as they have better scorers than before. Harrell and Gasol are better at scoring than Howard and McGee were. Schroder is a younger Rondo with more scoring ability. Schroder could also be a starting point guard if the Lakers really wanted to, but that would change roles away from a system that already won an NBA Finals. Assigning the roles the way I listed them earlier will result in a better scoring lineup with players filling in similar roles that they are used to. 

Even though the Lakers have star power, this team is not perfect. They are not as good defensively as last year, more specifically, wing defense. Bradley was one of the better defenders on their team, and they did not find a defensive kind of player to replace his role. This role probably will go to second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker. THT showed in the playoffs that he was ready for a larger role and could be the answer to replacing Bradley.

 

Frank Vogel proved he can adjust his lineups. In this year’s playoffs when he stopped giving Howard minutes in the NBA Finals and gave players like Morris and Rondo more minutes. He will easily be able to make proper adjustments in case the wing defense turns into a bigger problem than it is on paper.

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media

@KyleRandolphFSM

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Lakers Offseason 2020: How the Lakers Lineup Will Look