By the time Kawhi Leonard made his decision to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers, the options remaining for general manager Rob Pelinka to build the rest of the roster had lessened significantly.
Many of the mid-tier free agents had already agreed to deals and many questioned what kind of roster would be built around Anthony Davis and LeBron James for head coach Frank Vogel heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
Thankfully, Pelinka was able to pull off some great moves and build a roster that many believe is one of the best in the league. Danny Green was the first big piece while Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard would also be brought in with re-signed players such as JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The end result is a roster with a lot of versatility and potential and one that has Vogel very excited. In an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Vogel spoke on the roster and why he’s happy with the way it was constructed:
“Getting them to play together and to come together quite frankly… not just to play together. But I love the way the team has been put together by Rob Pelinka. I really do. Obviously, it starts with the two pillars in Anthony and LeBron… just two of the game’s best. And then the surrounding parts… that’s what I’m equally as excited about. You want to put as many shooters around those guys as you can and we have an army of shooters. You want to put lengthy defenders around those guys to make sure that you got a great defense and we have JaVale, Dwight, and obviously AD can do that as well. And then you want to have perimeter defenders, so we have a lot of versatility. I think we have the parts that fit and it’s really going to be about whether we come together and how quickly we come together.”
As Vogel noted, the Lakers have the ability to play any way they want. McGee, Howard, and Davis give the Lakers three long, athletic rim protectors. Green, Caldwell-Pope, and Bradley all provide shooting as do Troy Daniels and potentially Kyle Kuzma. Bradley and Green are also excellent perimeter defenders while Caruso and Caldwell-Pope are above average as well. Caruso is also a reliable playmaker as is Rajon Rondo.
The versatility of this roster is their biggest strength and Vogel will have the ability to adjust his lineup and rotations depending on what the situation calls for. The flip side of that is that Vogel will have a difficult time figuring out a consistent rotation as so many players will have an argument to play regular minutes.
Fans are already witnessing this in the preseason as Vogel continues to try different lineup combinations to see what works best and this is happening without Kyle Kuzma who continues to recover from injury.
It was an excellent job by Pelinka to construct the roster and Vogel is happy with it, but it undoubtedly presents a number of challenges that the latter will have to navigate throughout his first season as head coach.