Countdown to NBA Tipoff: Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: LeBron James (23) of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a breather against the Denver Nuggets during the first half on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers will be coming into the 2019-20 season with championship aspirations. The Lakers went into “Win Now” mode when they swung their young assets for the superstar, Anthony Davis, to pair with LeBron James. With a whole new roster, coach, and season, this season is poised to be an interesting one with their neighbors, the Los Angeles Clippers, also looking to put up a banner in Staples Center this season by acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this offseason.

Los Angeles Lakers 2019-20 Season Preview

Recap of Last Season

Stating the 2018-19 Lakers as a disappointment is an understatement. The team headed into Christmas Day with a 19-14 record (good for 3rd in the West) until James went down with a groin injury. Lonzo Ball then suffered a season-ending ankle injury a month after. When it was time to make a late push for the playoffs after slipping to 10th in the conference, the Davis trade saga distracted the team, Brandon Ingram was diagnosed with blood clots, and Magic Johnson stepped down as President of Basketball Operations. The Lakers finished the season with a 37-45 record. With the luck of the ping pong balls, they landed the 4th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. They then used the pick to eventually land Davis via trade.

Offseason Moves

The Los Angeles Lakers essentially cleared the whole team to facilitate the Anthony Davis trade while keeping just James and Kyle Kuzma on contract. After a failed pursuit for Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers then signed Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Avery Bradley, DeMarcus Cousins, Jared Dudley, and Troy Daniels with their remaining cap space. They also re-signed Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, and Alex Caruso to short-term contracts. The Lakers drafted Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker with the 46th pick and claimed Kostas Antetokounmpo off the waivers. After the Cousins ACL injury, the Lakers also signed Dwight Howard.

Season Expectations

The Purple and Gold are currently in a championship-or-bust situation right now. With James’ peak window slowly closing, Davis will have to shoulder more load as well in the frontcourt with Cousins out with a torn ACL. The Lakers have better roster structure now than last year— surrounding James with much-needed shooting and spacing. They will still need to find a backup center and a third star though. Kyle Kuzma’s Team USA involvement and another offseason signing can give Laker fans hope which they desperately need. The NBA has no clear favorite to win the title this season and it will be interesting which duo will reign come June.

Los Angeles Lakers Season Prediction

The Lakers will break their five-year drought of not making the Playoffs and will finish with a record of 55-27, good for second in the Western Conference behind either the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, or Portland Blazers. The team will look to build chemistry at the start of the season. They will then find the final piece to their championship puzzle via the trade deadline or the buyout market. They will have to go through either the Golden State Warriors or the Los Angeles Clippers before they capture their 17th championship crown this season.

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