Welcome to Lakers Lair Three-Man Weave, a subjective Lakers-related column where our resident Lakers fans answer a series of questions regarding the Purple & Gold. For the second offseason edition of TMW, the gang gathers to discuss the long-term implications of Lonzo Ball’s knee issues, the possibility of Josh Hart starting and the defacing of the LeBron murals. Our participants this week are:
1. Should we be worried long-term about Lonzo Ball’s knee issues?
King: I don’t believe so. As young as he is and as much as the Lakers front office wants to see him be successful for years to come, they will make sure he is hitting the court at the right time and fully healthy. At the same time, I can see where the injury might scare a few of the Lakers faithful. He only played in 52 games last year with a sprained MCL and a few other nagging injuries. I believe he could have played a few more games had the season not been a wash near the end, but back to answering the question, Lakers fans shouldn’t worry and there is no reason to be scared.
Allen: No I don’t believe so. We’ve seen guys come back and have successful careers from injuries way worse so I don’t think this should be anything to be concerned about. If this is something that continues to pop up next season and he begins to miss a lot of time then I believe the concern will begin to get much stronger.
Soaries: I’m with DJ. If it comes up again as an issue this next season then there will be cause for concern. For now, it’s too soon to have a serious concern.
2. True or False: The Lakers should give some serious consideration to starting Josh Hart over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
King: This is tough but I am going to have to say true. I believe Caldwell-Pope will be the opening-night starter but as the season progresses I think Hart takes over and ends up with more starts. When either of them is on the floor they both bring a similar playstyle along with them. Both are able to stretch the floor and add scoring when given open looks, as well as being tenacious and active on the defensive end. Hart has youth as well as chemistry with the other young Lakers like Kyle Kuzma, Ball, and Brandon Ingram on his side. However, Caldwell-Pope could be a more reliable shooter coming off screens for LeBron, Rajon Rondo, or Ball. I do think Hart is more suited for a bench role, but for the purpose of this question, I will say that Walton would definitely have to consider the idea.
Allen: I’ll say true and false. I believe the starting position is still KCP’s to lose. I know Hart had a great summer winning MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League, however, we can’t be prisoners of the moment. In the event that Hart comes off the bench and starts killing then the Lakers should consider putting him in that starting role especially if Caldwell-Pope is not producing.
Soaries: True. As long as he competes for the spot in training camp it should be considered.
3. Outside of Golden State and Houston, which Western Conference team frightens you the most?
King: If I had to choose one then I would say Oklahoma City. Although it did not work for the Thunder last year with Paul George and Russell Westbrook, I am fearful that they will figure it out this year and be a force to be reckoned with. Carmelo Anthony leaving may have been the best thing for them. With him gone, George and Westbrook can now focus on getting their looks while not worrying about forcing the ball to Anthony. Trading for Dennis Schroder gives them more firepower either off the bench or next to Westbrook and George and should result in them being more successful. Steven Adams is always in the discussion for being a top center in this league and he will produce consistent numbers on a nightly basis. Not to mention they have solid role-players in Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, and Nerlens Noel. As a basketball fan I hope they figure it out, as a Lakers fan I am scared.
Allen: No one. We all know what the Warriors and the Rockets bring but outside of that, I don’t really see any other team as a threat. I feel that the rest of the teams in the Western Conference are still trying to piece things together. They all have roles that they still need to fill which is why I’m not frightened. The Lakers are a young team as well and have a lot of growing to do this season but I truly don’t see any way that LeBron James doesn’t lead them to the playoffs.
Soaries: I’d probably say Oklahoma City, but I’m honestly more worried about teams like Denver and New Orleans in the middle pack of the West that have more camaraderie. When you have LeBron you really don’t have to be scared of anyone, but my first interest is how the Lakers perform against teams that they should be able to beat.
4. What’s your take on the defacing of the LeBron murals?
King: Let’s just say it doesn’t make me happy. It is small and it is kinda pitiful for people to do that. I understand that he was never popular in the Laker community, but he had several places to choose from this off-season and he chose to come to Los Angelas and help bring life back into one of the most popular franchises in sports. He apparently has not earned the respect of all the Laker faithful just yet, and fans are being a bit too hard on him already and doing it in a rather childish manner. The only thing that will please these fans is bringing a championship back to Tinseltown. If that were to ever happen, I wonder how those people who defaced the murals will feel when that happens. Makes me sick.
Allen: I believe it’s corny. I was very vocal about not wanting James early on too but once he signed, I was on board. But even if you’re not on board, there’s no reason to trash someone’s art like that. I’m sure that the mural took a lot of hard work and time and for someone to just ruin it like that just because they don’t like James is very corny in my opinion.
Soaries: It’s just a culmination of how fanatically extreme sports fans are, how public things are, and how heavy this move is. Lakers fans have rooted history with LeBron and there obviously those who don’t want to embrace him. It’s too bad because this is the first time the city that is getting LeBron is seeing negative actions like these. New Yorkers would have murals on every corner if he joined the Knicks. And it’s too bad for the talented artists who keep seeing their work vandalized.
5. Lamar Odom is playing professional basketball again, this time in China. How impactful would a prime Odom be in today’s NBA?
King: Very impactful. Either as a starter or as a bench player, Odom could give today’s NBA team a player that could fill any role that is asked of him. With the playstyle of a swiss-army knife, Odom could do a multitude of things on the floor. He was a respectable shooter, good rebounder, a skilled facilitator, and most importantly a dominant ball handler standing at 6’10. With NBA teams now needing their big men to stretch the floor and be just as athletic as guards, Odom would fit into that role rather smoothly and effectively. Man, I miss watching him play.
Allen: Odom would thrive in the modern NBA. What he brings to the game is a lot of what teams look for in the NBA today – versatile guys who can do many things on the floor. Odom was a point forward that could handle and pass the ball effectively at 6’10. He was a match-up nightmare for teams night in and night out which is why he was so valuable in the NBA. For all that he’s been through in the past couple of years, I’m truly happy for Odom to be able to play the game that he loves again.
Soaries: We know Lamar Odom was ahead of his time as one of the pioneer unicorns. His point forward skillset is sprinkled all over the game today from players like Draymond Green to Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons. Today, I’d love to see a prime Odom on a team like Houston, Toronto, San Antonio, OKC, or yes, of course, Golden State would be fun too.