Lakers insider says team will be ‘bottom-tier playoff team’ if Russell Westbrook stays on roster

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have yet to make a major offseason move, and one Lakers insider doesn’t believe the current team is constructed to win a championship.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha explained why he thinks the Lakers would fall short of a title run in his latest mailbag.

“No, I don’t believe the Lakers, as currently constructed, can win a championship,” Buha wrote. “I think they can certainly make the playoffs, but I expect them to be a bottom-tier playoff team if [Russell] Westbrook is on the roster and playing (somewhere in the No. 6 to No. 9-seed range). If we compare their supporting cast to other top West teams, they fall significantly short.”

It’s an honest assessment of the Lakers roster, and it’s hard to argue with Buha’s thoughts since Los Angeles missed the playoffs in the 2021-22 season.

The Lakers lost one of their best perimeter scorers in Malik Monk, as he signed with the Sacramento Kings this offseason.

The team is hoping that LeBron James and Anthony Davis stay healthy in the 2022-23 season, as both players missed significant time last season. Davis played in just 40 games while James suited up in 56 contests for Los Angeles.

The other issue is Westbrook, who clearly didn’t fit with the roster as the team would have liked last season.

If the Lakers decide to run things back in the 2022-23 season under new head coach Darvin Ham, Westbrook will likely need to take a reduced role on offense.

Los Angeles did bring in some interesting role players in free agency such as Lonnie Walker, Thomas Bryant and Juan Toscano-Anderson, but those players aren’t massive upgrades from last year’s team.

It will be interesting to see how the Lakers proceed the rest of the offseason as they try to build a championship-caliber roster around James and Davis.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.