Saying that the Los Angeles Lakers didn't want to fall into "the trap" of trying to beat the Golden State Warriors at their own offensively loaded game, general manager Rob Pelinka said the Lakers' goal in free agency was to purposely build a team "very differently than the past ones" surrounding LeBron James.
In a clear departure from how the Cleveland Cavaliers surrounded James with perimeter shooters, Pelinka explained Wednesday how the Lakers deliberately added versatile positionless defenders equipped with toughness and playoff experience to play around James in an effort to combat the defending champs.
"If your goal is to win a championship, you've got to look at the way the champs are assembled and how you can give yourself the best chance to take them down," Pelinka said. "It is certainly part of the equation. ... Earvin [Johnson] and I had a conversation and LeBron echoed this sentiment -- I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap. No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defense and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage."
After James committed to the Lakers early in free agency, they quickly added the likes of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee while re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. They seemed to load up on versatile playmakers who are tenacious defenders and add playoff experience to a young, growing core that includes Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.