Previewing the 2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers
September 20th, 2022
By Alan Lu
The Los Angeles Lakers swung a surprise trade with Washington to get Russell Westbrook last year, but they dealt numerous role players, some of whom played an integral role on their 2020 championship team to get him. The move didn’t pan out for the Lakers last year, as they wound up missing the playoffs.
This year, they swung a major trade to land Patrick Beverley in a move to greatly bolster their defense. The Lakers will need their team to stay healthy and to shoot and defend better than last year, but at least there is now cautious optimism that they could make the playoffs this season.
LeBron James is one of the best players both in the game right now and all-time. He is a tremendous scorer and all-around player when healthy, and he does everything very well on the court. The problem is he hasn’t been fully healthy in the past two seasons, and he’s played just 101 games in the last two years. If he can stay healthy, he will have a strong year, and will then probably lead his team back to the playoffs.
Anthony Davis had a tremendous 2020 season when his team won the NBA championship, and he was the backbone of their team’s defense that also showed superstar scoring and playmaking skills back then. Since then, Davis has struggled with his outside shot, and he also has had trouble staying healthy.
To emphasize and drive home the point, Davis has played just 76 games in the last two NBA seasons. Before, his skeptics used to say that he was too skinny. Now, there are concerns that he’s gotten too big too quickly, and that his body may be breaking down as a result. If Davis can stay healthy, he can help lead the Lakers back to the postseason, but that’s a big and major if.
The Lakers made a lot of moves in the offseason, but their biggest move this year was to acquire Pat Beverley from the Utah Jazz. This move strengthens their defense greatly, and they also get a highly competitive, intense player that will bring a very high effort level at all times, which is something they sorely need.
As for their other moves, they added a couple of big men, as well as players that can provide shooting and defense for their team off the bench. Also, Dennis Schröder had a tremendous showing at the 2022 EuroBasket, and he is a speedy playmaking point guard that can score and pass the basketball, and he will likely get plenty of playing time on the Lakers’ team for the upcoming season.
Not re-signing Malik Monk was a mild surprise, but the Lakers were able to sign Lonnie Walker to make back some of the shooting and scoring that Monk provided them last year. None of the other players that they lost were major losses, but they did lose some continuity and players that played a handful of minutes last year.
Max Christie is a young, athletic swingman that projects into a 3 and D role at the NBA, and he’s shown potential to develop into a solid NBA defender, but he’s struggled to consistently shoot or score consistently both in college or in the Summer Leagues. He may not be ready to contribute right away, but he could be a significant contributor for the Lakers in the future.
Scotty Pippen Jr. is an agile, skilled point guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he will need to show that he can reliably run the point and defend on the court. Cole Swider is a tall, skilled forward that can shoot the basketball, but there may not be a whole lot of playing time for any of the rookies this season, at least not right away.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Key Bench Players:
The Rest of the Roster (projected to make the team):
C Jay Huff (Exhibit 10)
F Cole Swider (Two-Way)
G-F Max Christie
G Scotty Pippen Jr. (Two-Way)
Others in Camp:
G Javante McCoy (Exhibit 10)
F Fabian White Jr. (Exhibit 10)
2021-22 (MIL): Was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks last year
Career: 0-0, 0-0 in the NBA Playoffs
Darvin Ham is a new head coach that worked under Mike Budenholzer last year with the Milwaukee Bucks. He played for numerous teams in the NBA, and has had valuable coaching experience in which he’s won as an assistant with the Bucks in 2021.
On one hand, he is an unproven head coach that will be tested quickly in the NBA, but he may have the coaching chops to be able to prove his mettle in Los Angeles. Ham will look to impart his knowledge onto the Lakers for the upcoming season, and he will look to get them to play more cohesively to try to get them to the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Lakers had a wildly disappointing season last year, and they both struggled with injuries and performance-wise on the court, which culminated them in missing the playoffs in 2022. This year, they’re hoping for a much better result despite having a very old core, and they’ll need their aging superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis to stay healthy to have any shot at title contention.
They swung a big trade to land Patrick Beverley, but it could all be for naught if James and Davis get hurt or if they slow down even more due to the aging process. If the Lakers can stay healthy and play up to their potential, they could be sleeper contenders for the title in 2023. Otherwise, they could disappoint yet again and miss the playoffs if they are unable to stay healthy or to play cohesive, team-oriented basketball for the upcoming season.
Projected 2022-23 Win-Loss Record and Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 40-42, 9th in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to win both of their play-in tournament games to get the 8th seed, and to lose in the 1st Round to the Memphis Grizzlies
I went to Basketball-Reference and Spotrac to look up some information for this write-up. It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and the NBA season will start on October 18th. Thank you for reading my write-up of the 2023 Los Angeles Lakers.