When free agents opened in late June, many Los Angeles Lakers fans dreamed that the team would turn Russell Westbrook into Kyrie Irving and become a championship contender again.
But that hasn’t happened, at least not yet.
Los Angeles was limited to a few minor free agent contracts, some promising and some underwhelming.
The acquisition of Lonnie Walker IV, a 6-foot-4 athletic shooting guard, has left many scratching their heads as he is thought to have potential but hasn’t materialized.
So far, several outlets have rated the Lakers during the off-season, and their reviews are mixed.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: C
“Everything will change if the Lakers end up with Kyrie Irving, but no one on Earth can predict how that will turn out, including Irving himself. As it stands now, the Lakers had a clear intention of getting younger this offseason, which they certainly did with the addition of free agents. The problem is that there’s still not much shooting around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, which was one of their key issues last season, and now they don’t have Monk, who was priced too high to justify. . The defense is slightly better on paper, but none of the acquisitions are by any means a stopper. Christy is a good player, but probably too far to help a team that is aiming for the championship. Irving could decide a lot, but at the moment things are not going well in Los Angeles. Grade: C”.
Kevin Pelton, ESPN: B-
“After a disappointing minimum-contract record for veterans last summer, the Lakers wisely switched to younger players as free agents. None of the players they have added to their roster are over 29 years old. For minimal pickups, I especially like to enlist Troy Brown Jr. as the advantage player and Juan Toscano-Anderson for his versatile passing and defense.
“On the other hand, the Lakers haven’t added a single reliable two-way member to fill their biggest need. The Lakers used their taxpayer average to add Lonnie Walker IV, who shot just 31% from three-point range last season (34% in his career). And even if Walker takes a step forward, as they did with Malik Monk, the Lakers may find it difficult to keep him past this season with non-bird rights.”
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report: C-
“Kyrie Irving could be the Lakers’ biggest player this offseason. If he arrived when Russell Westbrook leaves, Los Angeles would have to seriously move up the rating scale. As unreliable and erratic as Irving is, his shooting and play can help the Lakers. Westbrook proved last season that he doesn’t change his game or add new wrinkles and therefore can’t help LeBron James and Anthony Davis much.
“Walker is a good second draft talent, a brilliant outdoor athlete who can only be a reliable jump shot to not deserve rotation minutes on a good team. At just 23, the 6-foot-4 defenseman has averaged double figures in each of his past two seasons, even as his three-point shooting dropped to a career-worst 31.4% in 2021-22. If Walker can just replicate the 35.5 percent he got two years ago, he might even get started.
“Toscano Anderson, Brown and Jones are all extreme options with varied skills. JTA is a five-position defensive player who can pass and push the ball in transition, Brown plays his position exceptionally well, and Jones is a useful third player with the ability to catch and dunk, whose defensive skill has greatly improved from his clueless early years in ” Warriors.” .
“Losing Monk’s shots isn’t ideal for a Lakers team that had little room to begin with, and it’s hard to argue that any additions in the offseason will help win more wins than Monk did. As it stands, the Lakers are no closer to making the playoffs than they were at the end of last season.”
Note: This analysis was done shortly before the Lakers signed center Thomas Bryant.
Brian Culbroski, For The Win: C-
“Especially compared to last year, Lakers CEO Rob Pelinka had a much better offseason. He targeted younger players like Lonnie Walker and Troy Brown rather than older players like Carmelo Anthony and Avery Bradley.
“The addition of Thomas Bryant could be my favorite summer deal. But since Russell Westbrook is still in the game, I don’t see this team fighting for the title next season. Without a big move, they could lose another year to LeBron James and potentially risk losing him as a free agent.
“Rating: C +”
Jovan Buha, The Athletic: Incomplete
“The Lakers assessment will be incomplete until there is clarity on the future of Russell Westbrook. The party line claims that Westbrook will return and fit in with Darwin Ham’s vision for his role as a defender who primarily operates without the ball. But the Lakers were actively negotiating with the Nets and Pacers, among other teams, over Westbrook.
“Westbrook’s breakup with his agent Tad Fucher also indicates that Westbrook was never interested in another – and probably less – role in Los Angeles. If the Lakers go out of business and Westbrook stays on the roster, they will earn a C+ for making solid profits with limited buying power under free rein, but ultimately failing to solve two of the biggest roster problems (3). pinpoint shooting and Westbrook’s clumsy landing as third star)”.