After the Anthony Davis trade to begin the 2019 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were content to wait on Kawhi Leonard’s decision before making any major signings.
Once Leonard chose to join the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers quickly moved to fill out the roster.
Los Angeles retained JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso while bringing in DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, and Avery Bradley. General manager Rob Pelinka made it clear that he learned from the roster put together for the 2018-19 NBA season in constructing this one and it shows with the shooters and defenders on the team.
Davis also noted that Pelinka had been calling him constantly throughout the free agency process, asking his opinion on potential teammates so it makes sense that Davis — in describing his ideal teammates — described the build of the team’s current roster.
“Guys who want to win, no egos, guys who are just all in with the team,” Davis said when asked about his ideal teammates at his introductory press conference. “Obviously, one of the things we talked about was the bigs and also a lot shooters. Just knowing that guys are going to be double-teaming, triple-teaming, whatever. Now they have to be hesitant about that when we have shooters on the floor.”
Though Cousins and Rondo both have reputations about their attitude, each showed last season they could fit into whatever role the team needed and buy into the bigger goal. When it comes to shooters, the Lakers have definitely stocked up as Green, Cook, and Troy Daniels all shot better than 40% from three-point range last season while Caldwell-Pope, Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma are all respectable from deep as well.
On the other side of the floor, there are certainly some questions regarding the team’s ability to shut teams down, but Davis is confident in his own abilities and is happy with the bigs brought in.
“On the defensive end, obviously I think I can guard anybody but as Rob said, we want to be smart about the situation,” Davis noted. “It’s a long season, so having guys like JaVale and DeMarcus alongside me in the frontcourt is definitely a thing that we needed to obtain as well.”
Rim protection shouldn’t be a problem for the Lakers and Green, Caldwell-Pope, and Bradley are all good perimeter defenders as well. There are surely some fair questions about the team’s ability to defend the smaller, quicker point guards of the league, but that is something that could potentially be solved down the line.
In the end, the Lakers did an admirable job in constructing a roster that can compete with any team and one that fit the needs of their newest superstar.