While the Los Angeles Lakers had a number of issues last season, the thing that ultimately derailed the team from having a successful title defense was probably injuries. After spearheading the championship effort in 2020, LeBron James and Anthony Davis missed a combined 63 regular-season games in ’20-21.
The team continues to be banged up in the early going of this season, too. James has already missed 10 games himself and he’s far from the only one to hit the shelf. Some of the injury woes can undoubtedly be attributed to bad luck. However, there’s also something to be said for the advancing age of the roster.
For his part, Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob just said a mouthful about it.
During a sitdown with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on November 14, Lacob was a bona fide sound bite machine. At one point, he even called the team’s move to acquire Andrew Wiggins “maybe the greatest deal we’ve ever done.” Like… whoa, dude.
Of all the things he said, though, Lacob’s comments on team building popped with extra relevance for Lakers Nation, and not in a good way.
Warriors’ Lacob on ‘Old’ Teams
After waxing philosophical on what he considers to be the winning mix in the Association, Lacob took things a step further by describing what doesn’t work. And it sounded an awful lot like what the Lakers have been trotting out this season.
“You don’t want to be an old, broken-down team and everybody’s old. That’s not going to work,” he said, adding, “I’m not referring to any particular team. But I’m just saying, if you look through history, actually, all the great teams have had a great young star.”
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Lacob even namechecked a classic Lakers squad as one of the blueprints for bringing players old and young together.
“The Lakers, Magic Johnson as a rookie, truly amazing to do what he did,” Lacob said. “…You look back, even the Warriors in ’75, right? Had two young rookies [in Jamaal Wilkes and Phil Smith] I believe who contributed mightily to that team.”
He concluded: “I don’t think you can be all old. And you certainly can’t be all young to win in this league.”
Get all the latest Lakers news, analysis and viral content! Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page!
Proof of Concept?
Whether or not Lacob was actually taking a veiled shot at the current version of the Lake Show, we may never know. However, the season to date could serve as a case study for the concepts he’s putting out there.
As of this writing, the Lakers are currently the oldest team in the league, with an average age of 31.2, per RealGM. This is largely the result of Rob Pelinka’s decision to trade a trio of players still in their primes in Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a now 33-year-old Westbrook. That was followed in short order by the moves to acquire Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Rajon Rondo, who are all in their mid-to-late 30s.
Meanwhile, the Warriors boast an average age of 27.8.
Entering Thursday’s games, the Warriors have the best record in the league at 12-2. The Lakers are currently holding down the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference standings with a record of 8-8.