The Los Angeles Lakers had a lot of buzz around them going into the offseason. Names like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard were mentioned as being a part of the team this upcoming season. Well, one of the two actually happened. LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland and become the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once he signed, then what everyone wondered was who they would put around him. Well, the cast has been set now. The Lakers signed JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to one-year deals. Then they most recently added forward Michael Beasley on a one year deal. All of these signings definitely made people scratch their heads. How would a couple of LeBron's enemies on the court (Rondo and Stephenson), two guys known for being aloof at times (Beasley and McGee) and a perimeter player that's shot is enigmatic (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) fit around LeBron James? And more importantly, exactly what plan are the Lakers trying to employ around LeBron?
Looking at what Los Angeles has now around LeBron, the plan has become just a little bit more clear. If you look at the Lakers current roster, you will notice the duplicity and versatility with what they have. Guys like Brandon Ingram, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Michael Beasley and, to a lesser extent, Mo Wagner, are all players that can play multiple positions on the court. All four of these players add some versatility to the Lakers and what it also gives them is the option of being positionless on the court. Imagine the Lakers coming down offensively with James and three of these players on the court with him. The Lakers could simply pick the matchup they feel is to their advantage and go to work. Another thing they could do with this collection of players is potentially combat the Warriors Hamptons Five lineup. You could put LeBron at center, Kuzma and Ingram at the wings, Rondo or Lonzo Ball at the point guard position and Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson or Josh Hart at the shooting guard position. The lineup possibilities are endless with the pieces they have, but of course it all comes down to how each of these players mesh with each other on the court.
The versatility the Lakers have is good, but what also is good is they have playmakers outside of LeBron James. In his last season in Cleveland, LeBron had to be the playmaker and the bucket-taker almost exclusively for his team. He is a great athlete, but even the greatest athletes can be taxed with that type of usage. With the addition of Rondo on the team along with Ball already there, that gives LeBron two guys that can initiate the offense and make plays for him to finish on in the fast break and halfcourt offenses. And to a lesser extent, Stephenson can be a playmaker as well (if he is under control). LeBron will be LeBron and still will have his share of handling the basketball and making plays for others, but he will not be as taxed in doing so with the pieces he has surround him. That means we could see a potentially even more efficient LeBron James, which would be very scary for a lot of teams in the NBA to see.
The Lakers have pieces but they also have some things to work out. The interesting personalities they added could be combustible in that locker room. With anything worth winning, there is always chances that have to be taken and the Lakers organization is definitely taking some chances with these additions. It will be interesting to see if Luke Walton can weave the Misfits (Stephenson, Rondo, McGee and Beasley), LeBron and the young talent of Los Angeles seamlessly within each other as the season goes on.