Western conference teams such as the Thunder, Rockets, and Timberwolves (just to name a few) added All-Star talent during the offseason. The Lakers were rumored to be luring some big-time talent during, yet nothing happened.
The franchise has since been boldly regarded as a potential destination for players such as LeBron James and Paul George for the next summer. Besides making sure they have the money to offer such superstars, what do the Lakers have to accomplish during this season to attract superstars?
Finish with 35 wins
This is a realistic goal for the young franchise. Difficult? Probably. The Lakers finished last season with a 26-56 record as a bundle of confusion headlined by guards D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams. The new Lakers, however, have more organization and composure. Lonzo Ball is the new face of the franchise and has had a rough start averaging single digits in every category and shooting around the 30% mark from the field. However, he’s still the same Lonzo that the media has hyped up (almost as much as his father) since day one. He is still the same playmaker capable of leading the team to victories, he just needs to adjust to the ways of the league, and find his rhythm. Kyle Kuzma is a scoring machine that can play like he’s 6’3″ yet stand at 6’9″.
Brandon Ingram is improving his scoring capability every time he steps on the court. Those are the three main, young stars on the roster, but guys such as Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. have a lot to bring to the table as well. This roster has the right pieces, it just needs to figure out how to bring in positive results (a 35-win record in this case).
Establish an effective defense
Defense is an important part of any team’s success, with or without superstar names on the roster. The Lakers are currently sitting as a lower 15 team in the league for their defensive ranking. Superstars are more likely to join a team who already has it’s defensive head on straight, especially when playoff thoughts come around. If the Lakers can prove themselves as a team capable of containing and stopping offensive schemes from teams such as the Warriors, Cavaliers, and Rockets, free agent stars are certain to feel an attraction to them.
LeBron James joined the Miami Heat because Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were headed there, Kevin Durant joined the Warriors for their 73-9 record, and Chris Paul joined the Rockets because of James Harden’s presence. Every star needs their own reason for heading to a new franchise, and an effective defense can be the Lakers’ attraction for a new face or two in the locker room.
Set clear roles for current players
Hypothetically, if LeBron James and Paul George were looking to join the Lakers, they would want to know where they fit in on the team. This requires uncomfortable players such as the current sixth man Jordan Clarkson and extra big-man Julius Randle to find definite roles on the roster. It’s understood that much of the Lakers’ roster is young and still adapting to the NBA, however by the time free agency comes around, coaches and GM’s will have been expected to put players in the best fitting positions. This means that if Ingram is meant to have starter-minutes, he should have them, and if Lonzo is expected to be creating the offensive gameplan for this team, he will be the primary ball handler.
Stars want to know where they would fit in as a player, and if they don’t like their future role, then they simply won’t join the team. For small forwards LeBron James and Paul George, they would want to know that the role as primary scorer and franchise star is available.
These realistic and potential accomplishments by the Lakers do not guarantee the coming of big-time stars, but they would certainly help the cause.