3 reasons 2021-22 Lakers are the most exciting LA team in 11 years
The 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers have certainly been intriguing to start the year. LA entered this season with a ton of hype following an offseason that saw a massive roster overhaul. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, and the signing of other big names in free agency, Los Angeles has its sights set on bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy home in June and raising banner no. 18 to the rafters by season’s end.
Their current cast definitely makes them an interesting group. Of course, there have been questions on if the roster could work or if they may encounter some issues regarding fit. One thing is for sure, however, this iteration of the Purple and Gold is arguably the most exciting Los Angeles team since the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers team that defeated the Boston Celtics in that grueling 7-game series in the 2010 NBA Finals.
No, this certainly isn’t that of the disastrous 2012-13 squad and also doesn’t carry the same buzz as that 2020 team that went on to win the championship. Furthermore, while that Kobe Bryant farewell tour was great and all, it was still a losing campaign. While those young Lakers teams featured the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle and others, they weren’t really all that successful.
There is good reason — three actually — to believe this 2021-22 Lakers squad is the most exciting iteration in over a decade. Buckle up Laker Nation. You are in for a wild ride.
1. Hollywood-like stars across the roster
As mentioned, this team is loaded with a bunch of star-studded names. Of course, this Lakers team begins with the superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Everybody knows just how Hollywood James is and Davis is one of the best players in the NBA. Together, they are arguably the best duo across the entire league. This Lakers era has been led by LeBron and AD for a couple of years now. But they haven’t led a group with the name-value that some of their supporting cast have.
Acquiring Russell Westbrook, one of the most enigmatic and passionate players in the league, has definitely turned the excitement up a notch in Tinseltown. The Lakers have long been searching for a third star to pair with James and Davis, and they found that man in the Long Beach, California native. Now, there may be questions about Westbrook’s fit alongside the two incumbent stars, but the Lakers are confident the trio can figure it out.
Then they added Carmelo Anthony, one of the greatest pure scorers of all-time and LeBron James’ good buddy. Imagine having a future first ballot Hall of Famer coming off your bench and doing what he knows best, getting buckets. He has certainly created buzz around Staples Center with his arrival. In addition, they brought back Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, two former All-Stars and key pieces in their championship run in 2020. The Lakers also brought in DeAndre Jordan and made him their starting center.
All in all, that’s seven current and former All-Stars the Lakers have on their team. In 2010, this squad would be unstoppable. But in 2021, this team is definitely an intriguing cast that carries a gold-like name value.
2. Intriguing young talent
Aside from their box-office veterans, the Lakers also have some intriguing young talent that fans can get excited about. Talen Horton-Tucker is arguably the young stud LA fans are keeping their eye on the most, due to what he has shown in flashes over the first two years of his career. Though he has yet to play this season due to a thumb injury, many believe THT is prime for a breakout season with an increased role in the offense.
In addition to Horton-Tucker, Lakers fans are also beginning to get excited about rookie guard Austin Reaves. The 23-year old is slowly becoming a fan-favorite for Laker Nation because of what he has shown through his first few NBA games.
Furthermore, Malik Monk is also an intriguing piece the Lakers added for cheap during the summer. Monk is still only 23-years old and appears to be the perfect fit to play alongside the Lakers’ star trio due to his unlimited range from beyond the arc.
The young legs and energy of these three should be another exciting facet of the Lakers’ 2021-22 campaign.
3. Championship-caliber team that still needs jelling
There’s no doubt that these 2021-22 Lakers are a championship-caliber squad. However, as they have shown through the early goings of the season, there are a lot of things they still need to iron out as a team. As mentioned, there are questions about where Russell Westbrook fits alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But that’s what should make this even more exciting.
Of course, Lakers fans would want to see them at their best as soon as possible. However, going through ups and downs will be a necessary step in the process of reaching their ultimate goal of winning a championship. They are going to get scrutiny when times get tough. Nonetheless, that’s going to be all part of the journey. Seeing the team come together eventually and get their chemistry going will only be sweeter after witnessing the growing pains along the way.
It’s going to be a long road ahead to the championship and this should be an exciting journey for a team like these 2021-22 Lakers.