2022 free agency proves just how horrible the Lakers roster was last year

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Wayne Ellington #2 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Dwight Howard #39 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Wayne Ellington #2 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers assembled one of the oldest teams in NBA history last year, gambling on the notion that age and experience would hold up better in the postseason than youth and vigor. While injuries and Russell Westbrook hurt their chances, Rob Pelinka did LeBron James no favors with this roster.

On top of the fact that worn-down former stars like Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony were brought in, the backcourt featured names like DJ Augustin, Kent Bazemore, and Avery Bradley (just to name a few). The likes of Darren Collison, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington rounded out this AARP dream team.

Once James and Davis fell to their injuries, this roster was too feeble to executive Frank Vogel’s gameplan. The rest of the league apparently thought so little of Pelinka and his approach to team building that they have no interest in trying to replicate any part of that.

Eight players who combined for over 6,100 regular-season minutes last year with the Lakers have not been offered an NBA contract despite their respective pedigrees. This confirms the consensus that LA’s roster was simply not viable for the modern NBA.

The Lakers had a severe lack of depth last year.

Anthony was the only player from that list who averaged more than seven points per game. Even with his scoring skill after bouncing around the NBA in the last few years, some contending teams may consider him too defensively deficient to earn another contract. Consider that he was the most productive of those vets by far.

It seems likely at some point that Anthony and Augustin will get contracts after their play last year. Even if that happens, that would still mean a good chunk of LA’s rotation is deemed less than NBA quality. No wonder James had to score 40 points every night to give LA a chance.

The Lakers appeared to have learned from last year’s mistakes. Even though they didn’t have a ton of cap space to play with, Pelinka decided to gamble on potential young standouts rather than battle-scarred veterans. Names like Lonnie Walker and Troy Brown Jr. could break out if appropriately utilized.


Pelinka did well to create the James-Davis 1-2 punch, but it’s fair to question some of his roster-building strategies outside of that move. Last year was a complete failure, and Pelinka won’t totally remove that stain from his record until LA contends for a championship again.