Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell celebrates after making a shot against the Warriors (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


Opinion: How the Lakers became championship contenders this off-season

New additions to the team make this one of the most competitive team lineups in recent history.
<a href="" target="_self">Fernando Flota</a>

Fernando Flota

November 7, 2023

Over the off-season, the Lakers have improved their playing massively and look to be championship contenders. The Lakers did not land the big stars, but built on their roster. This also led them to resign their key players. The grade I will give them this off-season is an A, and here is why:

The biggest news is Austin Reaves new deal, because it was expected that he would be given a four-year contract of around $80-100 million by the San Antonio Spurs. As it turned out, the Spurs were hesitant and declined to make an offer. This allowed the Lakers to sign him to a three-year, $54 million contract deal.

The Lakers locked up key rotation players like D’Angelo Russel, Rui Hachimura, and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt deal was a good choice because he is a really good defender and is able to guard the best NBA players. In the playoffs, he guarded one of the greatest players of all time, Stephen Curry, which was crucial to help the Lakers beat the Warriors. During the free agents period, the Lakers also signed Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Cam Reddish, Taurrence Prince, and Jaxson Hayes. 

Gabe Vincent could be the starting point guard, but I would prefer for him to be on the bench to help with the scoring. Prince and Hayes have some upside but they will probably not get a lot of minutes. Christian Wood is an X-factor because he is a center who can shoot three-pointers which allows for more spacing which creates more opportunities. If he starts off hot at the three-point line, he could play valuable minutes. Lastly, Cam Reddish is someone we hope can regain his form on the three-point line and become a key shooter.

In total, fans should be excited for this upcoming season. The Lakers should be projected to have around 55 wins this season and be one of the top teams in the NBA. Don’t be surprised if you see the rise of Austin Reaves to an all-star, and I expect them to be contending for a championship with how loaded this team is.