The Los Angeles Lakers impressed with the depth of their roster, which proved to be one of the key elements of their success on the way to the franchise’s 17th championship this pst season.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis stepped up as the team’s leaders and created a lethal partnership that allowed L.A. to reclaim the NBA crown after a decade-long wait. But the Lakers All-Stars received a tremendous amount of support from the team’s role players, particularly during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope successfully filled the void left by Avery Bradley’s decision to opt out of the NBA restart, impressing on both ends of the floor. Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris were among those who shared the third star’s role.
Meanwhile, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard helped the Lakers dominate the glass and showed they prioritized the team’s success over their own, complying with significant reductions to their rotation minutes whenever the game plan required it.
L.A. had that determination and team spirit, arguably the best in the league, that collectively resulted in the Larry O’Brien trophy returning to Staples Center. And Lakers veteran Danny Green said during a recent episode of “Inside the Green Room” he hoped the front office would try to retain as many players as possible from the title-winning roster:
“I think we bring everybody back. We do what we did this year and hopefully not in a bubble. I think the group that we have is special. I think we can still make something special happen, regardless of what moves are made outside of us, what teams get better or healthy. Golden State is going to be healthier, Brooklyn is going to be healthier. I still believe we have the talent with the pieces we have now. It’s going to be hard to bring back all 10 free agents, but if we bring back the majority, with the nucleus we have now on the roster, I still believe we have a special team to do something great.”
Bringing the entire roster back would be a challenge for Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. Rondo, Caldwell-Pope and Davis are expected to opt out of their contracts, although the latter will likely re-sign with L.A. in free agency.
And sentiment might not always be enough to strike an agreement over a new contract that would satisfy the financial expectations of the players while not hampering the franchise’s cap space flexibility, already hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
James had faith Pelinka could lead Lakers to success
Even though his debut season in L.A. was far from ideal, James was confident the Lakers were steered into the right direction — and that confidence, he said, trickled down from the organization’s front office.
James said he was not demanding to win the championship as titles cannot be promised, but he trusted Pelinka would make the Lakers successful again after seeing his immeasurable desire to win.
“What gave me faith is that Rob Pelinka told me he would do whatever it takes to make sure that we would become a winning franchise once again,” James explained.
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