Stephen A. Smith Drops Truth Bomb on Lakers Struggles

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

When it comes to perimeter offense, the Los Angeles Lakers are the worst team in the NBA, ranking dead last in three-point percentage.

In a league where shooting the three is at a premium, Los Angeles has almost no sharpshooters on their roster and very few trade assets for them to go out and resolve the problem by making a deal. With all this in mind, Stephen A. Smith recently shared his opinion on the Lakers’ appalling start to the new season, providing some candid analysis of the situation at hand.

“They can’t shoot…The bottom line is this, they can’t shoot…The fact of the matter is, they have been more competitive defensively. They do have athletes. They do have dudes who can ball a little bit. The problem is, they can’t shoot to save their d*** life. And, this is in the year 2022, where the game has evolved and changed so significantly, that you have to be able to shoot…Somehow, some way, they’ve assembled a squad that can’t shoot…In the end, the results won’t change until they get brothas’ that can put it in the hole from long-range. And by brothas’ I mean everybody, black, white, Latino, get an Asian American, a Native American, I don’t give a d*** who you find – somebody who can shoot the d*** ball,” Smith said on a November 8 episode of ESPN’s First Take.

With so many interior threats on their roster, the Lakers are hamstringing themselves by not placing shooters on the floor, as it’s killing their ability to space the court, which in turn, is allowing opposing defenses to clog the paint, thus making it difficult to attack the rim.

Lakers Rule Out Kyrie Irving

One player who the Lakers have been linked to since the end of last season, and would go some way to resolving their perimeter scoring woes is Kyrie Irving. However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers’ front office has decided against adding the mercurial point guard to their roster – both via trade and via 2023 free agency.

“Sources say the Lakers have significant concerns about the prospect of adding Irving at any price and have not been focused on that scenario all season long. It’s quite clear that Laker Land is a highly unlikely, if not impossible, landing spot,” Amick wrote.

Irving, who is currently serving a team-imposed suspension with the Brooklyn Nets, has found himself becoming a distraction for his teammates over the past two seasons, so given the Lakers’ current struggles and the bright media lights on the team right now, it makes sense the front office would decide against targeting Irving.

Lakers Targeting a Mystery Player

Irrespective of the front office ruling out a move for Irving, it’s still clear that the Lakers need some fresh talent added to their roster – be it via trade or a free agent acquisition. Yet, according to Howard Beck, who was speaking on a November 8 episode of The Crossover Podcast, the Lakers are targeting an unnamed player, should they become available.

“I will add one thing without going into all the detail, but I was canvassing a bunch of front office folks last week when I was workshopping my idea of ‘Can the Nets tear down now? Should they just tear down now? What could they reasonably get for Kevin Durant? Could they get anything for Kyrie Irving? Could they get anything at all for Ben Simmons?’ And in those discussions, when I brought up the Lakers, the pushback I was getting was they’re waiting for a specific player.

That they’re not doing the Pacer deal, that they won’t do the Kyrie deal now that we for sure thought they would do a couple months ago, is an indication that the Lakers are waiting for a bigger piece to come loose that they think they can trade Westbrook and the two future firsts for,” Beck said.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, their asset cupboard is rather bare, and if the player they’re targeting is deemed as a star around the league, it’s highly unlikely they boast the necessary trade assets to get a deal over the line – unless they finally commit to moving on from their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, and that’s looking increasingly unlikely. 

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