Paul Pierce: Zion Williamson Can't Save LeBron James, Lakers; LA 'Need a Lot'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) dribbles the ball against Central Florida during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce believes the Los Angeles Lakers are a long way from becoming a contender.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Pierce said that even if the Lakers win the NBA draft lottery and select Duke's Zion Williamson, it won't be enough.

"Zion is not the savior, but he's very good," Pierce said. But y'all need more than that!"

When asked what the Lakers need in order to make it back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, Pierce continued: "Y'all need a lot. ... A lot. A lot."

Despite signing LeBron James during the offseason, the Lakers are only 11th in the Western Conference this season at 33-42.

L.A. has now gone six straight seasons without reaching the playoffs, and injuries undoubtedly played a big role in its struggles this season. In addition to James missing time with a groin ailment, both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball had their seasons cut short.

Despite his injury woes, James has still been one of the world's best players when healthy with averages of 27.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game.

As is the case with most successful teams in the NBA currently, James needs another superstar to join him. The free-agent market could be flooded with them during the offseason, as Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving are among those who could be available.

Also, the Lakers figure to check in on a potential trade for New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, who will almost certainly be dealt during the offseason.

The Lakers currently have the 10th-worst record in the NBA, which means their odds of winning the lottery aren't great. If they do luck out, however, they will likely get a player in Williamson who has the potential to be a superstar in the NBA.

Even getting the No. 2 or No. 3 pick would be a major coup for L.A., with Duke's RJ Barrett and Murray State's Ja Morant in the draft.

Regardless of where the Lakers pick, expect President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson to be active in the trade market and free agency this offseason since there is a sense of urgency to take advantage of having James on the roster.