You can call this an overreaction if you want, but some of us have been calling this from the start. The moment the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook, there were plenty of doubters coming out of the woodwork to put the Lakers down. After their first game of the season and Westbrook’s horrid stat line, some of them feel validated now.
Even before the first game of the season, there are red flags with this Laker team. On paper, this team has some pretty big names. The ceiling is a championship, but the floor is pretty low too. This team could easily lose in the first round of the playoffs and here is why.
1. The Team Is Old
The Lakers are the oldest team in the NBA. The last time we saw an older team win it all was the 1998 Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan was 35, while Dennis Rodman was 37. These guys didn’t let age dictate their play, but even so, the Bulls had some younger parts around them. Some may look at the 2011 Dallas Mavericks and say that team is older as well, but Dirk Nowitzki was only 32, Jason Terry 33, and Brendan Haywood was 31.
Tyson Chandler was in his prime at 28 years old. Jason Kidd was 38, but he was primarily a backup point guard. The Lakers rely on 37-year old LeBron James, 32-year old Russell Westbrook, and 28-year old Anthony Davis. The bench is made up of older 30-something players in Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington, and DeAndre Jordan.
There is a big difference between playing basketball in this league at the age of 32 vs. 37. When you just enter your 30s, you have some prime years left. The closer you get to 40, the wear and tear start to get to you. The Lakers would have a great roster if this was 2010.
2. Russell Westbrook And LeBron James Are A Bad Fit
The headline says it all. Since 2010, Westbrook has been used in the offense over 30% of the time. That number has never dipped below 30% since that time, meaning that one of our three times down the floor, the ball is in Westbrook’s hands. Why do you think he amasses so many individual stats to get those triple-doubles? It’s because he somehow found a way to have the ball.