The Los Angeles Lakers managed to add quality pieces to a roster that made a surprising run in the Western Conference Finals, setting themselves up for success during the 2023-24 season.
The Lakers signed Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes, Cam Reddish and Christian Wood, quality pieces that will all push for minutes. Aside from the new additions, Los Angeles also managed to retain Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura on team-friendly contracts.
With so much depth, the Lakers are in a better position to get through the regular season and potentially allow LeBron James and Anthony Davis to rest more. Also, if injuries occur then Los Angeles will have players who can step in and man the fort.
While Darvin Ham is optimistic about his new roster, he also has the challenge of trying to figure out who should play. However, he took the problem as a positive instead.
“Again, man, just that period of discovery you go through, that we’ve been going through the last couple of months, specifically. But once we get into camp, again, throwing out different variations of lineups. Believe me, it’s a great problem to have. You can never have too many good players,” Ham said. “Everyone is not going to be happy with their minutes. That’s just a reality of professional sports, regardless of what sport it is, and particularly in the NBA, especially when you have a team that’s deep like ours, full of very highly capable players.
“We’ll look at what we need to see on film, in practice, preseason games, and we’ll go from there. I’m just excited about the fact that we have guys who are high character guys who are gonna buy into what the overall goal is. And that’s how you temper the individual frustrations with lack of playing time or no playing time. There’s only 240 minutes in a game. So, we’re gonna navigate through it. But, again, as long as our sole focus is on — whether I’m getting 30 minutes, 13, three, no minutes — how am I pouring into the group? We saw that with Lonnie Walker last year. He didn’t get down on himself, he stayed professional, he stayed with a good spirit, and he helped us win a huge game that led to us winning a series. Long as we all have both hands on the rope pulling in the same direction, we’ll be able to navigate any little frustration.”
Rob Pelinka added that because the regular season is so long, every player will have an opportunity to see the floor and prove they’re deserving of more playing time. “I’ll just add to that quickly. I think one of the themes that Darvin and I have talked about for this group of guys — and we’ll kick this off in the theater on Monday when we all get together — if you want to get to June, October to June is a long stretch. And I know everyone’s quick to make judgments. “Oh, this guy is going to play 25 minutes. This is the eighth man. Here’s the fifth man and running all the analytic models. I get that and appreciate it.
“But that stretch of time, there’s room for everybody to contribute in a huge and major way if you stick together, and if you take the long game. If you make snap judgments and after two weeks, you’re like, “Oh, man, I’m not getting the minutes. I’m out of the rotation, I’m gonna give up. I’m gonna get negative thoughts. I’m gonna not be with the group”, Darvin won’t allow it. That’s just not part of being connective. But I think in terms of the talent we have, when you look at an eight, nine-month journey, everyone’s going to get a chance to eat.”
Carving out enough minutes for everyone is going to be tough for Ham, but like he mentioned, it’s better to have more depth than less of it. Some players might feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, but over the course of an 82-game season and the playoffs, there should be time for each player to show what they can do.
Magic Johnson still has Lakers as best team over Suns in Western Conference
While the Milwaukee Bucks were able to land Damian Lillard, the Phoenix Suns were also able to turn Deandre Ayton into several potential role players. However, Magic Johnson believes the Lakers are still the favorites in the Western Conference.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!