Changes the Lakers desperately need to make in 2024

D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

2024 is officially upon us, and it is indeed a new year. Every year, people and groups alike formulate changes that need to be implemented in order to maximize their overall growth in the ensuing 365 days.

When you look at the mediocre results that this year's group of Los Angeles Lakers have produced thus far it is crystal clear that some adjustments are going to be needed in order for this organization to maximize a pivotal season in the legendary career of LeBron James.

The team could hold out a bit longer to try to re-establish a groove, but we saw how good some change can be for a basketball team at the start of the 2023 calendar year. The sooner that they pivot on some of their preliminary plans, which have not exactly panned out, the sooner the Lakers can regain contender status.

Lakers need a new perimeter playmaker

Look, Austin Reaves and D'Angelo Russell have not been bad. Actually the two have been quality secondary playmakers that can reasonably be counted on to relieve LeBron and AD from their mountainous level of offensive responsibility for this team. However, it feels like the Lakers need an upgrade on the perimeter.

If one of the two were to be included in trade talks, it would almost certainly be Russell with Reaves being so highly valued by the franchise. D'Lo has been in trade circulation since before the season even started, with his contract being a fairly team-friendly pact (expires after next season's $18.7 salary).

With guys like Zach LaVine and Dejounte Murray being linked to Los Angeles on the trade market, Russell could easily be on his way out in any agreed-upon trade package. Murray in particular would seem to be an excellent third fiddle in the team's chain of command.

Culture changes could be crucial for the Lakers


Besides LeBron and AD, every member of the Lakers have been inconsistent through this point of the season. Austin Reaves was projected by many to earn his first All-Star appearance this February leading up to the regular season but faltered out of the gates. He has since bounced back and looked more like HIMself, but he is a great example of the inconsistency that everyone has endured early on.

Take Cam Reddish's case into consideration. At the very beginning of the regular season, he was facing immense ridicule for his lack of production. After about the first month and a half of the season, he was being pegged as a potential untouchable in large part to his activity on defense. Following the team's loss to Boston on Christmas day, Cam was publicly slandered by his head coach for his offensive absentmindedness.

That sequence of sentiments has been the story of the season for the Lakers thus far.


The Lakers longstanding affair with the injury bug has again chartered a difficult path to collective cohesion. Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt have each missed a large chunk of the season already, with Vincent currently on the shelf following a necessary knee procedure.

While LeBron and AD have (thankfully) remained healthy throughout the year so far, it is always going to be tough to establish consistency within a rotation if injuries keep a team from having a consistent rotation in the first place.

When you examine the case of Vincent, it is clear that he had not fully recovered from his early-season knee injury. Flashback to Kendrick Nunn, who missed the entire duration of the 2021-2022 season with a bone bruise that was never expected to keep him out for a prolonged stretch of time, and there is a pattern of disappointments on the part of players' recoveries over the last few seasons.

Roger Sancho became the Lakers' head athletic trainer in 2021, and without a doubt is among the elite of his profession given his ascension to where he currently is. With that being said, the Lakers have displayed a tendency to part with their training staffs in recent memory due to a seemingly never-ending cycle of injuries. Prior to Sancho, former trainers Nina Hsieh and Marco Nunez were each relieved of their duties within two years of starting with the organization.

The hope is that Sancho can build a lasting career with the franchise, but in the business of basketball availability is one of the greatest abilities you can have. If the players are not available to play, some behind-the-scenes business decisions are always a possibility.

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