The Los Angeles Lakers’ front office leaned towards experience in their additions to the roster this summer. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington have all been in the league for at least a decade, with only Howard and Ariza knowing the feeling of lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The Lakers brought in a couple of younger players as well in Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn, and the overall feeling with the roster as it stands is that no one knows quite how the rotation and lineups will shake out. The coaching staff has a lot of options, and they may not be done adding to the roster just yet.
Building chemistry has been of the utmost importance for the Lakers over the past couple of seasons, and Howard knows exactly what the key is to doing just that.
“I just think it’s about sacrifice,” Howard said. “What are you willing to give up to get the trophy? And I think everybody on this team has had all the accolades possible, so I think we’re willing to give up anything of ourselves for the betterment of the team.”
“You look at Russ, he has the most triple-doubles in the NBA in history, so why not? Like we said earlier, why not win a championship? He’s done everything else. Carmelo, one of the greatest scorers in basketball history, specifically the greatest scorer in Olympic history, the only thing he doesn’t have is that trophy. So I think he understands also, it’s all about sacrifice.”
Being a part of the 2020 Lakers championship team allowed Howard to experience firsthand how important it is for everyone to be on the same page to accomplish that ultimate goal. And he is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to that point again.
“In my first year here, for me it was like, you got to realize to just do what they ask you to do no matter how hard it may be at times,” Howard added. “Everybody wants to score, everybody wants to be the person to make the front page of the newspaper, but at the end of the day, holding up that trophy and celebrating with your family and city and all the people that you love, it just means so much more. When you experience that, it’s like hey, this is what it takes, I’ll do anything to get back to this moment and I think all those guys will feel that this year.”
As Howard noted, the accomplishments of the individual players on the Lakers roster are astounding, with many believing the team has five future Hall of Famers. But not everyone can average 25 points, and some will have to focus mainly on defense, rebounding, and spot-up shooting.
Furthermore, there will be times for some of them when they aren’t getting big minutes regularly, which can be frustrating. But as long as the end goal is accomplished and the Lakers are the NBA Champions once again, it will all have been worth it.
Lakers expected to go into season with 14 players for flexibility
The team currently has 12 players signed along with a pair of two-way players, but there are still open spots on the roster. But don’t expect the Lakers to fill their entire roster before the 2021-22 season begins.
The team is expected to go into the season with 14 players on the roster, and reportedly adding a third point guard is the top priority. But the Lakers will keep an open roster spot to maintain flexibility for potential buyout players during the season.