This offseason Los Angeles GM Rob Pelinka rolled his sleeves up, threw on his hard hat, and went to work. With an already solid foundation in place (LeBron James and Anthony Davis), it was his responsibility to put together the remainder of the infrastructure. A few of his moves were not difficult to predict, but the rest of his blueprint was very much a mystery.
Would some of the other members of the supporting cast like Malik Beasley, Troy Brown Jr, Wenyen Gabriel, Dennis Schroder, and Lonnie Walker IV be back for another go-round? Each of those guys had a quality case for retainment (aside from Beasley), and most fans probably would have welcomed each of them back with open arms (see note from previous parentheses).
When the dust settled and the roster reconstruction was completed, none of those names remained. Instead, Pelinka pivoted his priorities from running things back to improving around the edges. Clearly, he learned from the mistakes that he made a year ago.
The product of his corrections fits the mold of a championship contender, and most fans and analysts alike would seem to agree that this is one of the more frightening teams in the league. With every opinion comes rebuttals, but the 2023-2024 team definitely looks like a serious championship threat on paper. So far in the preseason, they have also passed the eye test.
That doesn’t mean it will be a cakewalk for the Lakers, though.
With these things in mind, every goal is met with obstacles that must be overcome to achieve it. It is not as if the Lakers are just going to waltz their way to a ring ceremony. The players have to perform up to par. The coaches have to keep things under control. The front office has to monitor the players and coaches to ensure everyone is doing their part. And above all of them, Jeanie Buss has to oversee the entire operation to confirm that all hands are indeed on deck.
Those are some of the more easily identifiable pillars that will always require polishing as the hands on the clock tick and tock. Those things are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more possible hurdles that the team will have to get past if they are going to earn some new bling.
Being that the NBA preseason just kicked off within the past week, these are things that a lot of folks may not have even taken into consideration yet. As the games go by, they could very easily develop from a subtle mirage in the distance into a major roadblock in close proximity.