Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

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Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

STAYING: Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Travis Wear and Ivica Zubac.

ADDED: Michael Beasley (New York), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Isaac Bonga (Frankfurt Skyliners), Jeffrey Carroll (Oklahoma State), LeBron James (Cleveland), JaVale McGee (Golden State), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Kansas), Rajon Rondo (New Orleans), Lance Stephenson (Indiana), Moritz Wagner (Michigan) and Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga).

GONE: Thomas Bryant (Washington), Luol Deng (Minnesota), Tyler Ennis (Fenerbahce), Channing Frye (Cleveland), Andre Ingram, Brook Lopez (Milwaukee), Gary Payton II (Portland), Julius Randle (New Orleans) and Isaiah Thomas (Denver).

STRENGTHS: Best player in basketball now wears purple and gold … LeBron James may be 33, but he comes off one of his finest seasons … Don’t expect a sudden drop-off in performance … In LA, he will be surrounded with many candidates for a breakout year … Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart have already shown a lot of promise and should get better this campaign … Scoring should not be a problem for them, especially in transition … The Lakers went from worst team in the league defensively to No. 12 in defensive rating last year … If they can build on that, watch out … Roster may be better at the end of the season than it is now … They have trade assets aplenty … If another star becomes available, LA is an obvious destination … Same goes with quality veterans during buyout season.

WEAKNESSES: They could use more outside shooting … Ball and Rajon Rondo are not scaring anybody from beyond the arc … They are super thin at center … With so many changes in the offseason, chemistry will be a work in progress … It’s a locker room with colorful characters, hardheaded veterans, immature youngsters … Plus the Ball family circus … It will certainly be entertaining, but may not be an environment conducive to winning big … Luke Walton has a difficult job ahead of him and may not be in the strongest position to start off.

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Pacific Division, 5th in the Western Conference.

SALARIES:

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