The Milwaukee Bucks are a team that has been building from the ground up, drafting and building players with high upside. They have created a system where talented prospects can develop in-house instead of being traded for veterans who get paid more than them. The Los Angeles Lakers just got LeBron James and did not build around him as they should have by prioritizing veteran talent over young stars like Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been a team that has been rebuilding for years. They are finally starting to see the fruits of their labor by making trades and signing free agents. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, have not been able to build a roster that has any kind of cohesion or chemistry.
The Los Angeles Lakers planned to overhaul their roster during the previous summer. Only three players from the 2020-21 season were retained by LA. The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks had to make some roster changes as well, and they seemed to be following a similar pattern.
Both sides made a few major splashes before filling in around the edges. While LA’s additions haven’t had much of an effect, the Bucks have benefited greatly from a few of their acquisitions.
And it’s paying off in terms of victories.
The Bucks and Lakers have had very different regular-season openings.
The Lakers are 12-12 in the Western Conference and are struggling to win games early in the season. Milwaukee, meanwhile, has rebounded from a slew of injuries to move into third place in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James has missed half of LA’s games due to an abdominal ailment, a ban, and a positive COVID test. On the other side, Giannis Antetokounmpo has only missed three games due to injury.
The difference in games missed by each teams’ MVPs is undoubtedly a factor in their respective teams’ success.
But there’s more to it than that.
The offseason moves made by the Lakers to bolster their roster around the Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook haven’t gone as planned.
Milwaukee, on the other side, has received significant contributions from a handful of the players they acquired during the summer. They may have also made one of the league’s most crucial under-the-radar transactions little over a week ago.
The Bucks have won nine of their past ten games thanks to the performance of their newcomers. On the other side, for a large portion of the players they bought, the Lakers are receiving very little productivity.
The roster adjustments made by the Milwaukee Bucks have simply worked out better than those made by the Los Angeles Lakers.
During the first half of a game at Fiserv Forum on Nov 21, Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers and Bobby Portis of the Milwaukee Bucks react to an official’s decision. | Getty Images/Stacy Revere
The Bucks acquired guard Grayson Allen from the Memphis Grizzlies in a deal last summer. Bobby Portis, a vital component in their 2021 championship squad, was also re-signed.
Milwaukee also re-signed George Hill to a two-year, $8 million contract, signed Rodney Hood to a one-year, $2.2 million agreement, and inked Semi Ojeleye to a one-year, $1.8 million contract.
Former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was recently added to the Bucks on a non-guaranteed deal, along with veteran guard and former Milwaukee starter Wes Matthews, who was also brought in on a non-guaranteed deal.
When the Lakers acquired Westbrook in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell, they created the greatest splash of the summer.
Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and Rajon Rondo were all signed to veteran minimum agreements after the Lakers allowed Alex Caruso depart (who is currently playing a key role on a 16-8 Chicago Bulls squad).
Kendrick Nunn was signed for a one-year, $5 million contract, while Kent Bazemore and Malik Monk were also signed. Nunn and Ariza have yet to appear in a game this season.
Allen has been a surprise for the Bucks in terms of productivity. The fourth-year guard has started 23 of Milwaukee’s 24 games, averaging 13.8 points per game on 42.6 percent three-point shooting. Portis has remained with the team as a sixth man and a starter on occasion.
The former Arkansas center is the team’s third-leading scorer and fifth-leading minutes player. Hill has a 7.7 point per possession average and ranks sixth in minutes played. Even Boogie, who has only played two games, has had an impact, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds in a victory over Charlotte and 11 points and five rebounds in a win over Miami.
Anthony has been one of the NBA’s greatest shocks so far this season, averaging 14.3 points per game on 42.9 percent 3-point shooting. Monk is averaging 10.3 points per game while shooting 36.8% from three-point range. However, the rest of the veterans the Lakers have brought in have been lackluster, at least thus far.
Jordan and Howard both average ten points and 11.3 rebounds per game. The trio of Rondo, Bazemore, and Ellington are averaging 14.5 points each game.
The Bucks have received performance from their offseason signings, and the Lakers haven’t, despite the fact that they need it more than Milwaukee due to its injury problems.
Even if LeBron returns, the Lakers will want further assistance.
Milwaukee seems to be on the mend, with Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday back in the lineup. Its depth components have also helped the Bucks where they need it.
With James sidelined, Davis and Westbrook have been forced to shoulder the majority of the burden. When LBJ returns, the Lakers’ role players should improve because he is so skilled at making those around him better. Even still, a number of the experienced additions made by LA have yet to pan out.
LeBron is 36 years old and has missed 12 of the season’s 24 games. His age and the quantity of minutes he’s played during his career will eventually catch up to him. It’s possible it won’t happen this year, but the signals are going in that way.
The solution to the Lakers’ predicament is straightforward. They chose to bolster the roster with veterans, therefore those veterans must step up and assist LA’s Big Three in regaining their championship form.
NBA.com provided all data.
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The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in a state of disarray. The team has failed to nail the roster-building blueprint that the Milwaukee Bucks have been spectacularly nailing. Reference: los angeles lakers.
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