Can the new-look Los Angeles Lakers save their season?

Jarred Vanderbilt, Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
Jarred Vanderbilt, Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports /

Lebron James just passed Kareem Abdul Jabar as the all-time leading scorer, a record that once was unimaginable to break. However, GM Rob Pelinka didn’t want that to be the only highlight of the season and was active before the trade deadline hoping this revamped roster could turn their disappointing season around. The Lakers acquired Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards a few weeks ago, and he was quickly inserted into the starting lineup and has played well for them thus far.

This was the first of a few moves as they have also traded for D’Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley in a three-team trade that sent 6th man of the Year candidate Russell Westbrook and Juan Tuscano Anderson to the Utah Jazz. They capped off the trade deadline by moving Thomas Bryant to the Nuggets for Davon Reed and sending Patrick Beverly to the Magic for Mo Bamba.

The Lakers finally have prioritized shooting, and James and Anthony Davis now have more space to operate. Russell and Beasley have been reliable three-point shooters their whole careers and should play pivotal roles for the Lakers for the rest of the season.

Despite the lack of shooting thus far, the Lakers have done a good job scoring and are 5th in the league averaging 117.1 points per game. Conversely, their defense has been one of the worst in the league, and they have given up 130 plus points 12 times this year.

Hachimura, Bamba, and Vanderbilt should help them significantly in that department. Hachimura is a versatile defender with good size, and Bamba can provide shot-blocking and interior presence off the bench. Vanderbilt is a defensive juggernaut with All-NBA Defense written all over him. He can guard 1-5 and will defend the opposing team’s best player nightly.

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This revamped roster gives Darwin Ham all the pieces for a successful second half of the season. It won’t be easy, as they have dug themselves a hole and are six games under .500 at 25-31. Yet there is hope and enough talent for this bunch to make a playoff push and give James a chance to compete for his 5th championship ring.