The Los Angeles Lakers decided not to make any moves at the trade deadline and while that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world, it could’ve led to a new team being the favorite to win the West. While the Lakers were staying put, the Clippers traded for Marcus Morris. The team already had a loaded roster and were expected to compete for a title. Adding Morris only helps their odds.
The Lakers aren’t completely dead in the water yet, but Stephen A. Smith thinks the team needs a miracle if they’re going to beat the Clippers.
“Morris is an additional body to defend against LeBron,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. “You’re gonna throw Beverley at him, you’re gonna throw Paul George and then you’re gonna throw Kawhi Leonard at him and now you’re gonna throw Morris. You’ve got four different bodies that you can throw at the playmaker that is LeBron James. What’s your backup plan, Lakers? What’s your backup plan, Rob Pelinka? I don’t believe they have one against the Clippers.
“I got one hope, I got a hope that LeBron James turns back that clock about four or five years, it’s all I got. I didn’t feel that way until they got Morris.”
LeBron Still Playing Like an MVP
Despite LeBron being 35-years old, he’s still playing at the top of his game. To say he needs to “turn back the clock” may be a bit of an overstatement. The Lakers just need him to continue to play at the level he has been playing. He’s averaging 25 points a game and leads the NBA in assist per game.
However, it remains to be seen if he can keep up the pace once the playoffs come around. He’s put a lot of miles on his body throughout the years and he’s not getting any younger. We’ve seen LeBron do absolutely insane things in the playoffs in the past and he’ll probably have to once again to get past the Clippers. Fortunately, he has Anthony Davis to help and he’s probably the most talented teammate he’s ever had. No, Davis hasn’t had great success in the playoffs, but he’s also never been on a team this good. It’s very possible he puts up a couple of game-changing performances in the playoffs and silences the doubters once and for all.
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Help on the Way?
The Lakers missed out on Morris and they missed out on Darren Collison. Those are two big blows considering the Clippers only got stronger. Andre Iguodala is off in Miami, so he’s not coming to help. There aren’t a lot of ultra-exciting options in free agency, but there are players who can help.
Los Angeles figures to be players in the Dion Waiters market. His shooting ability will help the team get some offense off their bench. That said, he doesn’t really help the team with their ball-handling need. Tyler Johnson could have a little more upside in that regard and the team has rumored interest in him. Even if the Lakers don’t add anybody, they still have enough talent to win a title. It’s just going to be a matter of how much gas LeBron and Davis have come playoff time.