Lakers' Top Needs in 2022 NBA Offseason

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 2, 2022

Lakers' Top Needs in 2022 NBA Offseason

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    The Los Angeles Lakers enter the 2022 NBA offseason with a shortage of sure things and an uncomfortable number of question marks.

    They have a rough idea of what to expect from LeBron James, though the 37-year-old is finding it increasingly difficult to duck the injury bug. They know what Anthony Davis can provide, but they also can't be certain he'll stay healthy long enough to do it.

    That's about the extent of their internal knowledge. If you wanted to say this roster needs a little of everything, you wouldn't be wrong.

    An exercise like this demands specifics, though, so we've boiled down the summer wish list to the following three areas.

On-Ball Defense

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    Last summer, the Lakers focused on adding offensive oomph around the James-Davis duo. Not only did the attack fail to launch, but this once-elite defense also completely fell apart.

    There was an exodus of competent-or-better stoppers out of Los Angeles: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma. The bottom dropped out on this defense immediately, resulting in a single-season plummet from first to 21st in defensive efficiency, per

    If the Lakers want to reverse their fortunes next season, this is the first place to start.

    They can't be in a position where they're counting on Stanley Johnson and Avery Bradley to make their most critical stops. They have to snag some lockdown defenders, ideally while getting longer and more athletic on the perimeter.


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    The simplest formula for winning big with James is surrounding him with shooters and letting him attack.

    It puts opponents into one can't-win situation after the next. Crowd James, and he's a good enough quarterback to find open teammates. Stay at home on the shooters, and he will obliterate his matchup.

    It's not complicated, yet L.A. hasn't really embraced it. Since James' arrival in 2018-19, the Lakers haven't ranked higher than 17th in three-point attempts per game. That's where they landed this past season, while also slotting in the bottom half of three-point makes (18th) and accuracy (22nd).

    There are enough lights-out shooters in the modern NBA that this problem should be correctable. The challenge, though, is finding sharpshooters who can bring something else to the table.

    Having a specialist such as Wayne Ellington doesn't offer much assistance when his limitations are too great to give him a regular rotation role.


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    Opposing defenses didn't have too much to worry about last season.

    Sure, James is always a unique challenge in this league, and Davis cracks the short list of matchup nightmares when he is healthy and aggressive. If opponents could contain those two—or, as was often the case, avoid one or both—they probably shut this offense down.

    L.A.'s offensive menu needs more options. Especially since one of last season's key ingredients, the rapidly rising Malik Monk, may have priced himself out of Hollywood as an unrestricted free agent.

    A ball-mover would help keep things humming when James needs a breather. A bucket-getter would make this offense harder to handle. A player who checked both boxes would be ideal—and, if we're being honest, probably more expensive than the Lakers can afford.

    Still, it's early enough into the summer that fans and front offices can dare to dream big.