The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t waste any time restructuring the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers‘ front office venture forward with an all-in approach to hopefully push the team back into NBA title contention. However, assistant coach Phil Handy recently voiced cautionary words of advice before the 2021-22 season.
Lakers revamp the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis
After a first-round playoff exit, the Lakers quickly retooled the roster.
The front office began with the big-splash move to acquire star point guard Russell Westbrook. It provided the playmaking guard Los Angeles wanted alongside James and Davis. Westbrook is coming off his fourth campaign averaging a triple-double in the last five years.
Meanwhile, the team worked methodically in free agency by adding seven players for a combined $15 million in salary next season. Much of which came through one-year contracts at the veteran’s minimum, including Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore, and Wayne Ellington.
The Lakers also inked Kendrick Nunn to a two-year, $10 million deal. Los Angeles filled the supporting cast with shooting and versatile defenders to balance out part of the workload from the star power.
Despite all the building championship hype, one of the assistant coaches aired out a brutally honest assessment.
Lakers assistant coach dishes out a dose of reality about NBA titles hopes: ‘Paper doesn’t win championships for us’
Since the Lakers’ busy offseason, many have quickly labeled the team as an NBA title favorite.
Los Angeles possesses a promising Big 3 surrounded by proven veterans and young talent to push the franchise toward adding an 18th championship. However, assistant coach Phil Handy voiced during a recent interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio that the work must be done on the court to meet those lofty expectations.
“Paper doesn’t win championships for us,” Handy said. “Those names that are on that paper, are some phenomenal names… We gotta do our work and make sure we gel. Do we fit? These guys, they gotta figure out ways to play with each other and sacrifice, and let their names take over.
“You know, you look at that piece of paper and say, Lakers are loaded, automatic championship. Nah man, we got a lot of work to do in terms of just gelling, finding our rhythm and being able to be cohesive as a unit. I like what we have done, and I am really excited about it, but there is a lot of work ahead of us.”
The pieces are in place for the Lakers to seriously vie for an NBA title, but it’s going to take plenty of sacrifice and commitment throughout the roster. First, Westbrook and James must find a way to work together on the floor cohesively.
Meanwhile, the supporting cast has to build chemistry and cohesion alongside the star power and among each other. It’s a cast of proven talent starving for an NBA title, and those aspirations must work as the source that pushes them forward.
Lakers are taking an all-in approach
The disappointing outcome last season pushed the Lakers to commit to an all-in approach.
Los Angeles is banking on Westbrook fitting alongside James and Davis by being the missing offensive element to push the team toward NBA title contention. Meanwhile, the supporting cast is full of veteran players that are well aware of the defined roles they must play.
The Lakers also added young talent, such as Nunn and Monk, while retaining Talen Horton-Tucker to provide a scoring boost. It’s a uniquely built roster with plenty of potential to put a special 2021-22 campaign.