Many decisions from before the season started have come back to haunt the Los Angeles Lakers and their players now, as LeBron James found out when his joke about the fit with Russell Westbrook came true. While that’s a funny coincidence and an excellent opportunity for some fans to troll, there are decisions taken at the organizational level that have simply not worked out the way they were envisioned.
All season long, the Lakers have been hammered for their roster moves. Letting go of players like Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, all key contributors to their 2020 championship run, was considered necessary at the time, but these players have thrived elsewhere, and if not thrived, then they’ve certainly been on teams that have done better than the Lakers this season.
As pointed out by Basketball Forever on Instagram, each of the players that left the Lakers this offseason has found themselves with a team that has won more than their former team this season.
Alex Caruso had an injury-ridden season but he has been a major acquisition for the Chicago Bulls, part of what has helped the team clinch a spot in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Wes Matthews, part of the Milwaukee Bucks once again, has established himself as a role player there again as they look to win the championship in back-to-back seasons.
Markieff Morris is on the 1st seed Heat, although he missed a lot of games after his altercation with Nikola Jokic. Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell are both on play-in teams as well, and Drummond on the Nets could have a chance at the title too if everything comes together for Brooklyn. Kuzma and KCP will miss the postseason, but their individual stats have gone up and the Wizards still won more games than the Lakers.
A lot of discussions have taken place about whether the Lakers would have been better served by retaining a few of these players and making a move for Buddy Hield and/or DeMar DeRozan, and looking at this list of players, it’s hard to argue that the roster that LA put together is definitely better.