The Los Angeles Lakers are in a sticky position right now. Even with the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook along with other future Hall of Famers like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers still couldn’t make the play-in tournament. All they needed to do was rank 10th and they still couldn’t do it. Ever wondered what happened to the championship team they had just 2 years ago?
The 2020 Championship roster
Going back to 2019-20 season, the Lakers had just come off a season where they couldn’t make it to the playoffs even with LeBron James. So, to even the fields they got rid of their young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, sending them to New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis. The presence of another superstar would make them a championship threat.
The Lakers formed a roster of a mixture of All-Stars and defensive role players. They had players like Alex Caruso, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Kentavius Caldwell Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Javale McGee, Markieff Morris and Talen Horton-Tucker. Coach Frank Vogel was made the new head coach of the Lakers and he would be bringing his defensive mindset in the team.
The Lakers were the 1st seed of the Western Conference before CoVid-19 hit the globe. After some months of rest, the season resumed in the bubble. The playoffs happened around the same time as teams were pushing for the title. The Lakers came out on top and were crowned the 2020 NBA Champions. Most people thought they wouldn’t make it but they did. The Lakers won despite of a lack of 3-point shot.
The downfall of the Lakers
The following season, they let go of Howard and Rondo and replaced them with Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell. In paper those were some good additions but the Lakers couldn’t make the most of the situation and they ended up getting booted in the 1st round of the playoffs against the Suns. Davis’ injury and the Lakers’ 3-point problem still remained.
So, in the 2021 off-season, the Lakers made a huge deal where they acquired Russell Westbrook for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. Plus they gave away Alex Caruso to the Chicago Bulls and Wesley Matthews to the Milwaukee Bucks. On top of that they gave away most of their picks so they didn’t have many young players.
They filled the roster with veteran players bringing in Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. They replaced their entire roster and the results! They didn’t make the playoffs. Russell Westbrook’s future with the team is in question. Coach Vogel got fired, Anthony Davis is still injured and the previous problems aren’t yet solved.
The Lakers right now have added some young talent. They gave away Talen Horton-Tucker who was the last of the 2022 NBA Championship team. Rondo left the team in the middle of their ruckus and Dwight Howard is in question of whether to resign or not. They lost their entire squad in the matter of 2 years and now they are nowhere close to winning the championship. Let’s hope they can turn the tides in the upcoming season with the signings they made!