Reason No. 3: Lakers remained relatively the same in a loaded West
Looking at the Lakers’ offseason acquisitions, no one new on the roster is considered someone that could move the needle. Last season was the Lakers’ ceiling as a Western Conference Finals team, and they didn’t add anyone significant enough to change that.
Replacing Dennis Schroder with Gabe Vincent is a somewhat lateral move – both undersized point guards aren’t great defenders and hovered around 33 percent from three last season.
Besides that, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, and Jaxson Hayes are the only new free-agent signings on the roster. As mentioned, Prince is a great value signing. However, none of these players will be someone to push the Lakers over the top.
Not to mention, the loaded Western Conference got even better this offseason. The Nuggets lost Bruce Brown Jr. to the Pacers but still are the defending champions. The Warriors added Chris Paul, the Suns added Bradley Beal, and the Pelicans might have a healthy Zion Williamson. Practically every team in the Western Conference besides the Trail Blazers improved this offseason.
Adding Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, and Jaxson Hayes, a rookie, and making a lateral move at point guard with Vincent for Schroder isn’t significant enough to raise the Lakers’ ceiling as a contender.