The class of the NBA is unquestionably the Golden State Warriors. Every other team in the league, including the Los Angeles Lakers, is trying to play catch-up to the defending NBA champions and figure out a way to dethrone them.
Many teams have looked to adapt the Warriors’ style, filling their roster with shooters in an effort to outscore them. This summer however, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka went a different route in constructing the Lakers’ roster.
Pelinka further explained the franchise’s strategy on “An Evening With the Lakers,” saying he believes attempting to play the Warriors’ style of basketball would be a mistake:
“There’s a team that’s won three of the last four. And we felt like to build a team to try to play their style of basketball is a trap. You can’t beat them at their own game. We wanted to put together a team of versatile players, high IQ, depth at every position, and then a toughness.”
Trying to emulate the Warriors is a losing proposition in general because their players simply can’t be replicated. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all one-of-a-kind player. And that’s before getting into what DeMarcus Cousins could bring to the table.
The one thing that can be replicated is the positionless basketball that they employ. Being able to switch everything on defense is a huge advantage, and the Lakers roster should allow them to do just that.
Additionally, overall toughness on defense and on the glass is the main reason the Houston Rockets almost defeated the Warriors in 2018. Obviously adding LeBron James allows the Lakers to take a big leap, but the likes of Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and Rajon Rondo will add to versatility and toughness the Lakers are going for.
It may not wind up leading to defeating the Warriors, but the Lakers are taking their own swing at it.