A recent report indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers had three goals this offseason, and they feel like they addressed all of them.
“The Lakers’ struggles in the fourth quarters and second halves, particularly offensively, informed the team’s approach to the offseason,” Jovan Buha wrote.”They had three objectives in building their roster out from their series loss: establish continuity by retaining most of their free agents, improve their late-game execution and add more 3-point shooting around [Anthony] Davis and [LeBron] James.
“The Lakers are confident they took steps to accomplish all three goals by extending Davis and [Jarred] Vanderbilt, re-signing [Austin] Reaves, [Rui] Hachimura and [D’Angelo] Russell and adding shooters like Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince and Christian Wood. The results were encouraging in the preseason.”
For much of the 2022-23 regular season, the storied Lakers franchise seemed destined to miss out on the playoffs entirely. In late December, the team owned a 13-20 record. But the Lakers proceeded to go 30-19 the rest of the way to finish the regular season with a solid 43-39 record.
After defeating Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament, the Lakers secured the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and a matchup against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lakers eliminated Morant and the Grizzlies in six games in the first round thanks to excellent series from their two best players, James and Davis. The former averaged 22.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game, while the latter averaged 20.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and a whopping 4.3 blocks per game.
After eliminating the Grizzlies, the Lakers took on Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in round two. The Lakers defeated the Warriors in six games too, and role players Reaves and Russell both played at a high level in the series. They both averaged 14-plus points and three-plus assists per game.
Los Angeles didn’t enjoy the same level of success as it did in the first two rounds of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, however. The Lakers’ playoff run came to an end, as the Nuggets swept the Lakers on their way to the NBA title.
It’s probably too early to definitively say that the Lakers addressed all three of their goals this offseason. But Los Angeles is a better team on paper than it was a season ago.