In his last two moves, LeBron James has made sure he was joining a team built to win a championship. In Miami, he joined Dwyane Wade, along with Chris Bosh. Heading back to Cleveland, Kyrie Irving was a budding star, and the team quickly traded for Kevin Love.
That isn’t the case with LeBron James’ Lakers. He is the team’s lone superstar (for now), and the rest of the roster has talent and promise, but is very green.
It also isn’t the type of roster that LeBron usually thrives with. Most notably, there just isn’t a ton of shooting around LeBron.
Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart can all knock threes down, but none are the type of elite, dead-eye shooter that plays well alongside LeBron. This off-season’s other acquisitions don’t do much in that department either.
Lance Stephenson and Rajon Rondo are career 30-percent three-point shooters. Shooting from range is not a part of JaVale McGee’s skill-set at all. The Lakers argue that they want to off-set the Warriors’ shooting prowess with hard-nosed, on-ball defense and tough play. However, without some shooting, that strategy can only go so far.
One former NBA veteran thinks that shooters will be added around LeBron James via Lakers trades during the season.
Ryan Hollins, who played in the league from 2007-16, filled in for Jalen Rose on Jalen & Jacoby this week. During one segment, he named a few players that the Lakers could acquire at mid-season as sharpshooters to space the floor. A pair of specific names: San Antonio Spurs guard Mario Belinelli, and Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova.
“So LeBron needs dead-eye shooters… you need a Kyle Korver. Granted in today’s NBA, this is a real blessing for LeBron. When the trade deadline starts to come up, you’re going to see guys like Belinelli, Ilyasova, you’re going to see these guys come available and be able to join LeBron. So the Lakers have a strategy that they’ll be able to get a dead-eye shooter later in the season, which will be an immense help.”
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That certainly makes sense. However, it still won’t put the Lakers on the level of the Golden State Warriors. There may not be another addition, even a Kawhi Leonard, that would do that, given the Warriors’ incredible chemistry.