Jason Whitlock: Lakers have already failed to surround LeBron with adequate talent

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Chris Broussard and Doug Gottlieb join Jason Whitlock and Jason McIntyre to discuss whether or not the Lakers can surround LeBron James with enough talent to contend for a title.

- I'm not buying the report. No offense to Ramona Shelburne Brian Windhorst-- two people I respect a great deal. I'm just not buying it. I don't think Magic went over to Lebron's house on Saturday or whatever day that was and, man, we're going to get Rajon Rondo, and Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee, and this is going to be great.

If that's the conversation they had, Lebron's crazy. And so I just don't buy it. I think it's an excuse for the fact that they've been a little bit inadequate in surrounding LeBron with the right player.

- I buy it. It might not have been as neatly packaged as the article made it seem. I'm sure that wasn't the case. But I do buy that this was the conversation.

And look, I like the idea of LeBron James playing in the system rather than being the system. Because I've said for years when he's the system, you're going to be really good. And if you've got some decent talent, you're going to be a contender. But you're not going to be a group of smart intelligent players that can shoot the basketball and play as a team like San Antonio and Golden State-- the teams that keep beating him in the finals.

So I like this idea it'll be easier on him if he plays some in the post, at the elbows, in the wing, off the ball. He can get his 25 to 30 points off the ball. And if he can run the floor like he did last year-- maybe just for these next two years or whatever-- that could be a good fit with Lonzo. Because one thing Lonzo can do is push that ball on the pass. So I like this idea. You got to get some shooters, obviously, because you can't win with-- this is like a "Showtime" team Magic's trying to build for the '80s.

- Well, with exception of the stars that "Showtime" had, and they are devoid of stars. I do buy it a little bit more than you do Jason. And I think some of this is the influence of Kobe Bryant. Because Kobe talked about it in detail. He talked about when I had him on the radio the other day.

He's told a lot of people. He's even told LeBron James-- hey man, you want to last into your 30s? You got to play in the post. That's what Mike did. That's what I did. That's what you got to do. And that's why I think the playing out of the post comes into it.

Now, you've got to have shooters on the weak side. And I think when you look at the current roster-- though they were second to last in three-point shooting last year in the NBA-- they got young players who are going to improve. Lonzo's shot is screwed up, but he's going to make more shots.

And then you have Ingram. You've got Kuzma. You have Josh Hart. Those guys are going to improve in their time in the league. And so what they wanted was some dogs, some guys that are competitors, some guy that he respects that they're going to get after. They're going to get more out of what they have left.

And look, dude, there wasn't much on the market. It was a terrible market. And so what'd they do? Let's just be as competitive as we can the first year, see we can get. And then they're all signed to one-year contracts. If they have bad attitudes or they're not good enough, they're gone. We're getting our two other stars next year.

- I got to side with these gentlemen, Whitlock. The word I keep coming back to is "trust," OK? He trusts. LeBron trusts Magic Johnson. I don't think there was any trust with Dan Gilbert. That's why he kept signing the one plus one deals.

This one-- four year commitment. There's an out after year three, but that's a serious trust thing with Magic-- he believes whether it's Kobe and Magic. But the Laker entire front office-- that they can put a team together. And I don't know why people are hating on the team honestly.

The Lakers were the third youngest team in the league last year. LeBron played for the oldest in Cleveland. Now you add veterans like Lance who's been in playoff wars, JaVale McGee. Rajon Rondo-- listen--

- Championship pedigrees.

- But by the way, Doug--

- Rajon--

- If Mr. Rondo has-- he's had a great career. If Lonzo Ball has as good a career as Rondo had, that will be a success because Rondo was--

- He hadn't had a great career.

- Rajon Rondo--

- He's supposed to be better than Rondo.

- Rajon Rondo and I think Lance Stephenson over the past couple of-- they played on like 11 different teams. Everybody's tried to make it work with these guys. I'm just not buying it. And then to your point about LeBron not being the system and playing in a system-- I agree with you. But David Blatt tried to install a system.

- That's true.

- And I remember watching the first game. And I saw LeBron go second half-- I'm done with the system. Give me the ball. All his running around setting screens.

- There is the potential for that.

- If he see it not working, he'll go do to instincts and get the ball and do what he always does.

- There's two people on this roster who weren't hired by Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson. Brandon Ingram's one, OK? He was drafted by the previous regime. And Luke Walton's the other. He was hired by Jeanie Buss. He wasn't hired by Pelinka, he wasn't hired by Magic.

And that's where the story of him not communicating at all with Luke does perk up your ears. But let's like catch our breath and remember if things go right, Rondo's not going to be a starter. If things go right, Lance isn't going to be a starter. And so if you say are those two pretty good bench players? Yeah. And you know what? JaVale McGee was good this year.

Matter of fact, Steve Kerr made a mistake. He should've played him against the Rockets, and they wouldn't have been in as big a mess they were in. He fixed that mistake and played him in the finals, and he was damn good in the NBA finals.

He's not great. But considering the market that was out there, considering the young roster that they have, they got some dogs. They got some guys that competed at a high level, and I think LeBron thinks he can be good influence.

- Awesome in the JBA. I would put him in the JBA with Harbaugh. Championship pedigree team. Or the big three-- I would put him in a big three. He would be dominant in the big three.

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