…d’ve surrounded LeBron with this summer, for two guys in Ivica Zubac and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk that we wouldn’t even know the names of if they weren’t Lakers. If not for the false Pels rumors and alienated kids on the roster, this would actually be a decent …
The disaster in Atlanta was a reminder of what happens when either McGee or Chandler are injured or sick. Zubac wasn’t a great defender, but he could block a couple of shots and helped on the boards.
In the first 10 games of the season — before Tyson Chandler joined the team — the Lakers were #23 in defense, #25 in defensive rebounding and #22 in rebounding overall. During this same span of games, Zubac got 6 DNPs, and played over half of his 38 combined minutes in the win at Portland.
In Atlanta, the Lakers played McGee only 13 minutes, and Wagner 5 minutes. That means the Lakers played for 30 minutes with either LeBron or Kuzma playing the small ball 5, and the results were just as horrible as they were in the first two games of the season.
It’s clear that LeBron is still injured, and unable to play defense even in the brief game situations when he wants to play defense.
It may turn out that the Zubac trade sinks the Lakers’ season. If they fail to make the playoffs, the majority of the blame has to fall on the shoulders of Magic and Pelinka.