The Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to depart for Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, which will mark the restart of their mission to win the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.
Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka has put together a championship-caliber roster led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis and a host of solid role players who each bring something different to the table.
But with starting guard Avery Bradley opting against playing in the restart, and the team bringing in JR Smith to replace him on the roster, the coaching staff will now have to figure out a new rotation. But Pelinka was hesitant to begin mapping that out.
“It’s too early to really start to talk about rotation and starting lineup, because this process is so fluid,” he recently said. “We’re excited that right before the hiatus we added Dion Waiters, we added Markieff Morris. Obviously, there’s going to be more time to integrate players like that. Then we’ll have this replacement player.
“With almost four months off, coming back into individual training camp starting, there will be some newness to integrating these new players, and it’s an exciting opportunity to do that. I think the core identity of our roster and who we are, and how Frank and the coaching staff have utilized the roster, it’s built on defense and versatility, and all the things we’ve talked about as themes, I don’t see that changing.”
The Lakers undoubtedly have versatility across the roster. The team has the ability to play big or small, transition or the halfcourt game. All of their wings and guards, from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso to Rajon Rondo, Waiters and Smith each have individual skill sets.
Re-building team chemistry will be of the utmost importance, but Pelinka still believes that won’t be an issue. “We’re in a unique situation that we’ve had such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we had already formed,” he said.
“I don’t see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it’s such a strong identity.”
There will be a lot that goes into play at Walt Disney World in order for the Lakers to bring home the championship, but Pelinka certainly believes this team is capable of putting it all together.