NBA Scouts Sound off on ‘Terrible’ Lakers: Report

Getty Russell Westbrook and LeBron James of the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have encouraged fans not to panic based on their winless preseason, but not everyone is buying how their new roster fits together. During an interview on The Ryen Russillo Podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted that some NBA scouts believe the Lakers look “terrible” and are skeptical about their roster.

“So, I’m not really surprised that they haven’t, until Monday night or guess [it] was Tuesday night, didn’t play their big three together,” Windhorst explained. “So, [if] I’m a Laker fan [I’m] going to say, ‘Well, we haven’t played our guys together.’ Okay, I got it, but I’m talking to the scouts and they’re like, ‘This looks terrible.’

“Their roster doesn’t fit. You know, it’s not, I don’t think it’s going to work, and I’ve got people out there going, I’m worried for Frank. I’m worried for Frank Vogel, that they’re going to blame him for this. Now, I will point out that now they have two injuries to wing players and those [players had] two surgeries, Ariza and Horton-Tucker … out for a while, a long time. … And so, that kind of buys them a little bit of a window if they don’t get off to the greatest start. Also, their schedule’s very favorable. So, I think they’re still going to be good.”

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LeBron on New-Look Lakers: ‘It’s Going to Take a Minute’

The Lakers have hinted about the possibility of a slow start given it is almost an entirely new roster outside a handful of returning players. LeBron James indicated that it could “take a minute” for the roster to come together.

“It’s going to take a minute for us to become the team that we know we are going to be capable of being,” James noted on October 13, per Los Angeles Times. “So, it’s all about just working the process, being patient with the process, understanding that we’re going to have frustrating moments. We’re going to have moments where we’re not quite right there. We may take a step backwards. But that’s all part of … I think nothing is worth having if it’s not worth working for and I think we’re going to hit some moments where we feel like we’re right there but we’re not quite there.”

But there may be more to it than just time. One Western Conference assistant coach told’s Sean Deveney that the Lakers may have deeper issues, especially on the defensive end.

“You don’t see a lot of communication, which is expected when you have this many new players,” the coach said. “But you also saw a lot of confusion, so that it makes you wonder, who is going to take the reins defensively for that team? They don’t seem to have a hierarchy there, where one guy is barking everything out. … Plenty of time to clean it up of course but there is a lot, a real lot, to be cleaned up.”

NBA Scout on Lakers: ‘I Never Really Even Want to Doubt LeBron’

Not all scouts are as skeptical of the Lakers as Windhorst indicated. There are 100s of NBA scouts so there is going to be a wide array of opinions on every team. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix cited another anonymous scout who admitted the Lakers need to “thread the needle” but sees a scenario where the team has success.

“I never really even want to doubt LeBron, because I think he’s really f****** good,” the scout told Sports Illustrated. “And if he hadn’t gotten hurt last year, they’re on their way to the one seed or two seed and probably in the Finals, but he does and now it totally changes. I’m a little skeptical, I guess I would say, The argument for it would be you get as much talent and star power as you can, and then you figure out the rest. … To me, you could see them winning a significant amount of games and just overpowering you. But it just seems like they got to really thread the needle for that to happen.”

Vegas has the Lakers win total set at 52.5 and second in the NBA championship odds at +400, per DraftKings. Time will tell if the Lakers’ offseason overhaul will get the team back to the NBA Finals.

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