Los Angeles Lakers desperately need a third star to compete for a championship

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s become abundantly clear that the Los Angeles Lakers still need to find a third star if they’re serious about competing for an NBA Championship.

When the Los Angeles Lakers made an unlikely run to the Western Conference Finals in last year’s postseason, there was a growing belief that perhaps this team was closer to winning an NBA Championship than perhaps many realized. And that’s the approach the Lakers had during the offseason. Los Angeles didn’t make any big moves and instead, made a couple of additions here and there while relatively maintaining the same DNA of the team.

However, through the first eight games of the season, it’s becoming quite clear that this roster is probably not good enough to compete for a championship in the Western Conference. In fact, they may not even be good enough to win a first-round playoff series.

At 3-5, the Lakers have one of the worst offensive ratings in the league and a mediocre defense at best. Aside from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers lack that consistent third start that it’s likely going to take to emerge from the West bracket.

D’Angelo Russell has been productive (averaging 17 points per game) but doesn’t impact the game as much as the Lakers need him to. If he’s going to be the third option for a championship team, he needs to be much more impactful than he’s been so far this season.

Austin Reaves is another player the Lakers had high hopes for heading into the season but he’s also disappointed to a certain extent. He hasn’t taken the step forward that the Lakers believed he would and has struggled with his overall shooting numbers to start the year.

The Lakers’ revamped supporting cast also hasn’t been all that promising either. In short, the Lakers find themselves in a place where they may need to start mapping out a path toward adding a third star if they have any plans of competing for a championship this season.

Will any realistic options emerge for the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline?

The big question heading into the NBA Trade Deadline revolves around whether there will even be a realistic third star option for the Lakers to pursue. There will be some smaller moves that the Lakers could make, perhaps similar to what we saw from them at the deadline last year, but I’m not sure that’s exactly what’s going to put the Lakers over the hump in the West.

At this point, the Lakers need to make a big move. The Lakers need a splash move. Los Angeles needs a third star that can effectively take the pressure off both LeBron and AD on a nightly basis, but also one that can single-handedly positively impact the Lakers on his own.

With the injury history and expected load management that is also going take place between now and the end of the season, the Lakers also need a third supporting star that can win a few games single-handily.

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The Lakers need to start exploring for that third star. With no guarantee that they’ll find the right fit, however, there’s no certainty how this season ends for the Lakers. Through the first few weeks, from the outside looking in, it seems like they need a jolt. Landing a third star would accomplish that.