The Lakers have been eliminated from playoff contention.
That’s freakin’ wild.
Whether you want to pin it on injuries, roster construction, coaching, or age, the fact that a team led by arguably the greatest player ever and two other superstars didn’t even make the play-in is crazy stuff. It’s even crazier that a team with that level of talent became unwatchable to many fans.
So, obviously, something needs to change. That’s why today we’re returning to NBA2K22 after a long break. I’m stepping in as the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. My goal is to return them to their former glory and hoist the Larry O’B at the end of the year.
If you haven’t seen my other GM articles, feel free to check them out.
Let’s get going!
April 6th, 2022
As of today, the Lakers are 31-48 with three games remaining this season. This is where my tenure as the general manager begins. For these last three games, I’ll be resting my stars and tossing some minutes to my young guys because winning doesn’t matter at this point.
The Bucks won the ‘chip and Giannis won MVP. Let’s go.
July 3rd, 2022
The offseason begins. Let’s take a look at the roster.
I want to build a championship roster around the trio of LeBron, AD, and Westbrook. They are here to stay for next season unless Westbrook declines his player option.
Beyond them, almost everyone is a free agent. There are a few players I will look to bring back when we get to free agency.
First order of business is to fire Frank Vogel. I don’t think he’s a horrible coach or anything, but we need someone new. I offered contracts to Alvin Gentry, Lloyd Pierce, and Darvin Ham, but their respective teams unfortunately blocked me from bringing them in. As a result, I’m promoting assistant coach David Fizdale to fill the role.
Next up is the draft.
Trade #1: Pick Swap
Lakers get: 2022 38th overall pick
Timberwolves get: Two future second round picks
The Lakers didn’t have any picks, and I wanted one. I’m snagging an early second round pick from Minnesota, who had three seconds in the upcoming draft and had no need for all of them.
Draft Pick: Andrew Nembhard
With the 38th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select Andrew Nembhard from the University of Gonzaga. Nembard is a do-it-all guy who can play a few positions, and he should be able to play some minutes for me right away.
Now it’s free agency time. Westbrook unsurprisingly accepted his PO and he’s back. Kendrick Nunn declined, he’s gone.
I have a lot of spots to fill and zero money to fill them. I’m searching for mimimum-contract guys who can actually make an impact (not 80 year-old Trevor Ariza).
Resigning: Stanley Johnson
There was no way I was letting Bench Mob All-Star Stanley Johnson leave. His hustle and defense are fantastic and will be needed. I gave him a two-year, five million dollar deal.
Signing: Gary Harris
Although he’s fallen off since his Denver days, Harris still provides quality 3&D play and might be the starter if I can’t find a better option.
Signing: Serge Ibaka
Serge’s play with the Bucks this season has proven he still has something left in the tank as a defensive anchor off the bench. He’ll be my backup center or maybe even the starter if necessary.
Signing: Taurean Prince
Prince is a 3&D wing who has played good minutes for the Timberwolves this season. He’s the type of guy who I want on my team if I’m trying to contend.
Signing: Eric Bledsoe
I needed a backup point guard. Bledsoe can play defense, and off the bench I like what he can do for me.
Signing: Ben McLemore
McLemore has been a solid three-point threat for the Blazers and he should do the same for me in his return to the City of Angels.
The other players I brought in to fill out the roster are Davon Reed, Drew Eubanks, Wenyen Gabriel, and Devin Cannady. Unfortunately due to my lack of funds I was unable to retain Malik Monk. That really stinks. I was able to bring back Austin Reaves on a two-year deal.
Beginning of 2022-23 Regular Season
At the beginning of the regular season, my rotation looks like this:
Starters: Westbrook, Harris, Prince, LeBron, Davis
Bench: Horton-Tucker, McLemore, Ibaka, Bledsoe, Johnson
We’re ranked second in the power rankings, but I’m not so sure about that. I’m thinking I’ll need to find a way to acquire another 30+ minute per game guy at the deadline to make me feel confident about our championship chances.
December 1st, 2022
A little over a month into the season, we are 8-10 and 12th in the conference. Things aren’t looking good.
January 1st, 2023
We’re still below .500. Trades coming soon.
Febuary 6th, 2023
Trade: Kenny Hustle to LA
Lakers get: Kenrich Williams
Thunder get: Austin Reaves, two second round picks
Finding a trade was very hard. I have very few assets, and my one main asset Talen Horton-Tucker is making more money than he’s worth which means finding a fair deal was difficult. I had to make something happen, so I traded one of my few young assets to OKC to get a rock-solid role player in Williams.
Trade: Bledsoe Back to Phoenix
Lakers get: Aaron Holiday
Suns get: Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe hasn’t been bad by any means, but he hasn’t been good either and I need to try something different. Holiday, who was rotting away on Phoenix’s bench, will hopefully provide a spark off the bench for me while the contending Suns get a proven veteran.
Post-deadline, here’s my new rotation:
Starters: Westbrook, Harris, Williams, LeBron, Davis
Bench: Horton-Tucker, McLemore, Holiday, Ibaka, Johnson
There weren’t many more deals I could make that wouldn’t be moving laterally. My rotation is solid, but nothing more. Guys will need to step up big to make something happen.
At the break, we are 23-37, good for 13th in the West. Our defense is top ten in the league, but our offense is dead last. Scoring options in free agency are non-existent.
April 1st, 2023
We are 27-47, 14th in the West. I don’t see a world where we make the playoffs. Here’s the rotation I’m running for the rest of the year:
Starters: Holiday, Nembhard, Horton-Tucker, Gabriel, Davis
Bench: Williams, Johnson, McLemore, Reed, Eubanks, Cannady
End of 2022-23 Regular Season
The Los Angeles Lakers finished with a record 27-55, 14th in the West. Here are the stats from the guys:
R. Westbrook: 16 PPG/9 RPG/7 APG
G. Harris: 10/1/1 (he was really disappointing)
K. Williams: 8/5/3, 1.4 SPG (as a Laker)
L. James: 20/8/8
A. Davis: 19/10/4, 2 BPG
T. Horton-Tucker: 12/3/3 (he had a solid year)
B. McLemore: 8/2/1
T. Prince: 7/3/2
S. Ibaka: 7/4/1
S. Johnson: 3/2/1, best +/- on the team
A. Holiday: 9/1/2 (as a Laker)
D. Reed: 4/2/2, 45% from deep
W. Gabriel: 6/5/1
A. Nembhard: 6/2/5 (he really shined as a starter to end the year)
D. Cannady: 6/0/1
D. Eubanks: 3/4/1
What this season proved is how tough of a predicament the Lakers have put themselves in. They have no money, no assets, and no picks. I did my best and couldn’t make anything happen. Of course, this is just NBA2K so things could play out differently in the real world, but they will need to make big changes to turn things around.
So, did you enjoy my tenure as the GM of the Lakers? Let me know! I always have fun playing some MyNBA so if you like this type of article I will do more. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!