No team has been busier than the Los Angeles Lakers this off-season and with roster spots still open, it’s likely they’re not done making moves. It’s rumored that 33-year-old DeAndre Jordan will sign this week as the Laker’s 14th player on the roster, leaving one spot available.
Jordan was traded by the New Jersey Nets to the Detroit Pistons and is currently working with the team on a buy-out.
Should Jordan sign with the Lakers, 36-year-old center Marc Gasol’s future with the team would appear to have concluded. Contemplating retirement, Gasol was no lock to return to the Lakers though he is under contract with the Lakers, so they could still look to trade him away.
One thing is certain, even with the Lakers swapping Jordan for Gasol, the team hasn’t been getting any younger this season.
An Older But Better Laker Team
While teams are always looking to get better, they traditionally also look to get younger. This is certainly not what’s happening in Los Angeles. The Lakers currently have four players under contract for this coming season (five if you include Marc Gasol who may retire) over the age of 35.
That list begins with Carmelo Anthony who turns 38 in May and includes LeBron James, 37 in December, Trevor Ariza who turns 37 in June and recently signed Rajon Rondo who will be 36 in February. Marc Gasol is 36 but won’t likely return to the team.
The team also rosters four players on the wrong side of 30, five if you include DeAndre Jordan who turns 34 in July. Returning center Dwight Howard will be 36 in December, Wayne Ellington will be 34 in November, all-star guard Russell Westbrook turns 33 in November, and Kent Bazemore will be 33.
Factor all these players together and the average age of the Los Angeles Lakers roster will be 32.3 years old by the time the NBA Finals rolls around next year, with 9 of the 14 players at 33 years of age or older.
Yet bookmakers at West Virginia Online Casinos still have the Lakers as Western Conference favorites, indicating with confidence that talent and experience are a premium over youth; at least with this Lakers team. Currently, the Lakers are +250 to win the conference and +400 to win the 2022 NBA title.
Experience And Talent Over Youth
When you look at the Los Angeles Lakers roster it’s safe to say that there is not a single squad in the league that has more experience.
Currently, Los Angeles has 6 of the top-14 active players in games played (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Russell Westbrook, DeAndre Jordan, and Rajon Rondo), 4 of the top-7 active scorers in (James, Anthony, Westbrook, and Howard), and most importantly, 6 of the top-25 players in the league in playoff minutes (James, Rondo, Westbrook, Howard, Trevor Ariza, and Anthony).
They also have a lot of talent depth, the Lakers roster is certainly the deepest in the Western Conference, with 13-14 legitimate rotation players there simply are no filler spots in the lineup. Los Angeles may very well look to play its entire roster every night, which will mean plenty of rest for the older guys during the regular season.
It should also be noted that arguably their best player, Anthony Davis is just 28 years old (29 in March) and just entering his prime, Kendrick Nunn turns 27 in August, Malik Monk will be just 24 in February, and last years rookie sensation Talen Horton-Tucker: won’t be 21 until November.
You can argue that the Lakers are old, they might be the oldest team favored to win the conference, but it’s obvious that general manager Rob Pelinka has been working to construct a roster that relies on depth to negate the drawbacks of age. Current plans look to have coach Frank Vogel distribute regular-season workload to avoid what happened in last year’s postseason when the team struggled with injuries down the stretch and relied too heavily on James and Davis in the playoffs.