6 former Lakers who would’ve turned LA into true title contenders this season

The Lakers need these former players on their roster to be title contenders.

Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, Alex Caruso, LeBron James / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Lakers are headed toward the Play-In Tournament. There is still hope of a second straight improbable playoff run, but it won’t be easy. The Lakers will likely have to face the top seed in the first round after winning two straight to make it there. LeBron James and company are not focusing on it, but the odds are stacked against LA.

The Lakers want to be title contenders, and the franchise may get creative this summer with three first-round draft picks to trade. It may mean making some unpopular moves, but Rob Pelinka and the front office must be bold to significantly improve.

The Lakers had the pieces at some point but failed to keep them. They are still haunted by the Russell Westbrook trade, but it is far from the only mistake the franchise has made in recent years. If the Lakers had these former players, they would be in title contention this season.

6. Josh Hart

The Lakers acquired Hart in a draft night trade in 2017. The 6’4 wing helped Villanova win an NCAA championship and was a blossoming role player before being traded to New Orleans as part of the package for Anthony Davis. The 29-year-old has bounced around the league a bit but is proving to be crucial to the Knicks' success.

Hart is averaging 9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.9 steals in 32.4 minutes per game. His percentages leave plenty to be desired, but the Lakers would certainly benefit from his rebounding, defense, and playmaking if he was in LA. The franchise is 19th in rebounding and 15th in defensive rating. Hart would ensure the Lakers get those extra possessions and is comfortable operating as a secondary creator.

The Los Angeles Lakers need a wing upgrade. Josh Hart’s shooting keeps him from being the perfect fit, but the franchise would be in title contention if he was on their roster. The 6’4 wing is not the only former Laker that the franchise dreams of having back.