The Lakers Aren't Getting Out of First Round Unless They Get Kawhi Leonard
By Bobby Burack
It is now official, LeBron James is a Laker. It has been fun, now time for reality. If the Lakers do not trade for Kawhi Leonard, LeBron will be going home in the first round this upcoming season.
Make no mistake about it, as good as LeBron is, he is joining a mediocre team at best. A team full of young talent, with no idea how to play in, or win big games is not exactly going to topple what is waiting for LeBron in the West.
As currently constructed without Leonard, the Lakers are obviously not better than Golden State or Houston, but if they get into the playoffs as a 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th seed, they could face off against several teams in the first round that today look to have a more impressive arsenal: Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota.
The teammates LeBron James will be joining all have potential, but other than Brandon Ingram, have just as good of a chance to suffer from a sophomore slump than to improve off of last season.
There has to be major concerns when it comes to Lonzo Ball, who is hurt again. Lonzo cannot shoot, obviously. He is also is a ball dominant guard, a style that does not benefit playing with the ultimate ball dominant player, LeBron.
Ingram became most effective when he was running point last season, that is effectively over.
If the Lakers are able to acquire Leonard – which they must do given what happened with Paul George – life would be changed. When last seen healthy, Leonard was the best two-way player in the NBA and arguably the closest thing to LeBron.
Leonard would help take the defensive burden off of LeBron when facing the Warriors and the rest of the NBA’s top teams.
LeBron has never gone somewhere alone and has never seemed interested in playing with talent that is years away from being where he needs them to be, so maybe he knows something we do not. But if he doesn’t, forget June, LeBron will be home – well, his home in Los Angeles – by early May.