Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers, a franchise that stands at the top of the market since it was created, always puts pressure on the players, because they expect to be playing at a high level every year, especially now, when they acquired LeBron James to go along with the former number 2 pick from the 2017 draft. Even if they went through a rebuilding process since Kobe Bryant retired, and lets say they maybe took the tanking as an option, Magic Johnson tried every year to get a superstar to play for them. Some of the picks got lost in the way, D’Angelo Russell, who was drafted with the number 2 pick in 2015, was lately traded to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. Then, at the end of the last summer, Julius Randle, the 7th overall pick in 2014, asked his team to make him a free agent because of the addition of  LeBron James. Kyle Kuzma, though, was the steal of the draft in 2017. Magic Johnson was very active on the transfer market this off-season, as he is trying to build a championship team once again in LA; he got Rajon Rondo, Lance Stevenson, Javale McGee, Michael Beasley, Tyson Chandler to go along with LeBron. That’s almost a whole new other team. Given that fact, it was somehow kind of clear that they won’t necessary click instantly coming into the season, and they took this first year as a test for the players. Even though a lot of people around the league thought that Magic will make a trade for a second superstar this season, naming Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Anthony Davis as potential trade subjects, none of them joined the Lakers until now, but they got the salary cap space to do so in the near future, and maybe they will get Anthony Davis next season, if not, who knows, until the end of this transfer window. The team is currently sitting 9th in the West, with a record of 26-24, being only one win away from the other Los Angeles team, the Clippers, who are the 8 seed now. Sadly for them, they battled through some injuries since the beginning of the season; Rajon Rondo was out multiple times, last time for a right ring finger, LeBron James is listed as out from January 10 with a strained left groin and his return is not known exactly yet, but he has been cleared to increase on-court functional basketball movements. Lonzo Ball, being the last of them, is out with a sprained left ankle and he is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. It’s a kind of hard mission to get the home advantage in the play-offs given those facts, and even if you have LeBron James on your team, we all know how good the West teams are at the moment.

Andrei Dilean