As the season draws to a close, nobody would call what the Lakers have done over the past few months a success. Mired in trade rumors and conspiracy theories, it seems the L.A. locker room could not handle all the buzz surrounding them.
Still, the Lakers’ problems go much deeper than that. Rumors aside, the team lived and died by 34-year-old LeBron James. On any given night someone was capable of stepping up, but there was never a consistent second presence for the team, there was never enough talent for the team to continue to play well, even after James’ devastating groin injury in December.
Those problems result from the summer, where Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka made a couple of questionable decisions regarding who to surround LeBron James with. Of course part of that string of suspicious signings was Michael Beasley. He was a solid scorer, sure, but was he able to provide what the team needed him to? The answer is a resounding no.
Upon hearing why the team signed him in the first place, it only makes that point even worse.
“They let Brook Lopez go, the idea being they chose Michael Beasley over him — which to me is fairly unforgivable — because they had already lost Julius Randle, and they felt that Beasley had a similar skillset to be a small-ball five as Julius Randle did last year when he was a small-ball five with that second unit and sometimes with the first. So they felt like Beasley’s skillset would replace [that].”
The Lakers reportedly let Brook Lopez walk for Michael Beasley because they thought Beasley could replace what Randle gave them as a small-ball five. https://t.co/TGZUkiv3eH pic.twitter.com/1Am0jsYCxL
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) March 14, 2019
Essentially, after Randle walked, it came time to chose between Brook Lopez or Michael Beasley. They chose the later, thinking he could replicate what Randle and Lopez did for them last year. It proved to be a damaging mistake, as Beasley struggled all season long to produce for the team, eventually being released and returning to China.
Meanwhile, Lopez is having a great season in Milwaukee, en-route to finish with the best record in the NBA.
This brutal and unforgivable mistake is likely one big reason why this season was such a failure. Hopefully, they will be a bit smarter this July, when they have the chance to serious change their fortunes for good.