The Lakers are one of the franchises recognized around the world. Since in the 80s they popularized the “showtime” they are considered a contender by their supporters almost every single year of the league.
The reality is quite different in my honest opinion and this season is a good example.
Let’s review the map of assets for this season
In the stage, the press and media is considering the team to be build around 3 principal players: Lebron, Anthony Davis and Westbrook and with clear possibilities of reaching the play-offs. To me, despite the fact that they can reach the play-offs or at least the play-in, the Lakers are a franchise under construction.
The main issue I see is that only A. Davis is a top player in its peak of performance. Lebron and Westbrook are not there, my view is that they are in sunset. The other player that is in its peak is Schröder, but he is not a top player.
In addition to that, the General Manager decided to assign a rookie as Head Coach. A person with a profile experienced in the formation of players, not a coach for assaulting the championship. This is a signal for consideration. Saying it, Lakers have a good bunch of promising players that will be happy of having Darvin Ham as coach. This gives Pelinka potential young players with good projection for possible trades.
Last but not least, Pelinka has a player (Russell Westbrook) with a $47m salary this year. Looking at his performance last season, I understand that not so many teams want that performance with that contract; definitely there are better options.
I think that in the backstage Pelinka has tried to transfer Westbrook without success, and now in the backstage is leaving this season configured to built young talent, wait for next draft and see if during the season there are options to trade some players.
Rob Pelinka has a complex puzzle to resolve and enable the team to compete at the level that the owners demand. The Buss family are winners and this type of seasons are not their cup of tea.