Despite an aging roster and a record-breaking five key players who are 35-years old, the LA Lakers remain the favorite for winning the 2022 NBA title. They may have one of the oldest teams in franchise history, but it seems they’re aging like fine wine.
Here’s a closer look at the new season’s roster and what it will likely mean for this legendary team.
An All-New Line-Up
At age 28, Anthony Davis is the youngest of the Laker’s “Big 3,” with Russell Westbrook coming in at age 32 and LeBron James at age 36. In addition, the roster now also includes Carmello Anthony (37), Trevor Ariza (36), Marc Gasol (36), Dwight Howard (35), Wayne Ellington (33), and Kent Bazemore (32). This season, seven of the eight players with guaranteed contracts are now age 32 or older.
However, it doesn’t appear that this will hold them back at all. In fact, the new additions have made them the favorites ahead of Brooklyn, Golden State, and Milwaukee in Los Vegas. If they win, this will be their second title in three years and their 18th overall.
Rob Pelinka is receiving praise for pulling together what may be the most talented roster in the Western Conference. Not only is Russell Westbrook a potential future Hall of Fame point guard, but the lineup also includes a few younger players brimming with potential and a ton of great shooters. Now, it will be up to the coaching staff to figure out how to best optimize the skillsets of this amazing roster of players.
Key Veteran Players
This year, bringing back some of their former players is a significant part of the Laker’s strategy – and most experts like what they see. Here’s a look at some of the key veteran players to keep your eye on this season.
Eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard is a potential future Hall of Famer who is returning to the LA Lakers for a third stint. After six seasons away from the team, Howard won his first career NBA title during the 2019-20 season. Over his 17-year career, Howard played for seven teams including the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played last season. This year, he’ll make history by being the first NBA player ever to play three separate stints on a team he was named an All-Star with.
Forward Trevor Ariza is entering his 18th season. Over his career, he has played 1,094 games (758 starts) with 10 different teams. After playing with Miami last season, he returns to LA once again, where he hopes to enjoy a repeat of his experience helping the team win the 2009 NBA Championships.
A long-time friend of LeBron James, Carmello Anthony didn’t require much convincing to join the LA Lakers. Instead, all it took was a call from James, asking him to come aboard. Now, after nearly two decades of parallel career paths, James and Anthony will finally have the opportunity to play together.
Anthony began playing with the NBA in 2003 and has played on five different teams. While he has never made it to the NBA finals, he came close in 2009 while playing for the Denver Nuggets, who lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference.
Guard Wayne Ellington is another NBA veteran, entering his 13th season after being a first-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. This will be his second time playing with the Lakers franchise, after playing one season with them in the 2014-15 season. Ellington likely won’t be a starter this season, but combining his skills with the other veteran team members will likely help propel the team to victory this year.
A Brief Look Back
The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the most popular and successful professional franchises in all American sports. They’ve won a combined total 17 NBA and BBA titles, tied in league history with one of their greatest rivals, the Boston Celtics.
Legendary players are nothing new to this team. Some of the greatest and most well-known players in Lakers history include Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. After Bryant’s untimely passing in January of 2020, the team has struggled to regain its bearings.
Last season, things never really took off for the Lakers. After a Valentines’ Day injury took Anthony Davis off the court, the team’s 21-6 record was derailed. Additional injuries pulled the team into a downward spiral, and they never seemed to develop the chemistry needed to really make waves. Unfortunately, the team really didn’t have enough depth and the players weren’t able to find a way to fit well on the court together.
This year, they’re hoping to turn that around and bring home yet another championship for the team. We don’t know about you, but we personally can’t wait to watch them pull it off!