There isn't a single NBA team that can match the talent and skill level of the Golden State Warriors' starting five, considering that they boast five All-Stars and a pair of MVP award winners.
But Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is high on the group he plays for under head coach Luke Walton. Kuzma spoke to reporters and explained why he thinks the Lakers can field a dangerous lineup, even though LeBron James is the only All-Star on the purple and gold.
"I think our small ball unit can be really good," Kuzma said, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. "I think we can have a death lineup whether that's (Rajon) Rondo and Lonzo (Ball) on the floor at the same time and me and (Brandon Ingram) and (James), or substituting guys. I think as we get better defensively and get more continuity...especially in the playoffs, when everybody's going to be going small."
You'll notice how Kuzma didn't mention Golden State or any of their players. But the "Death Lineup" is the popular nickname for the Warriors' core group of superstars - notably Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Now, offseason free agent signing and four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is set to debut for them next week.
So when Kuzma talks about the Lakers possibly having their own "death lineup," it does seem as though he's comparing it to the team that has won three champions in the last four years.
You have to respect Kuzma's optimism, but the Lakers don't look anything close to a potential threat in the postseason right now. James has missed brief time with a groin injury, and Los Angeles has slipped a bit without him. They're barely holding onto one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, which goes to show how the lack of depth without James.
The Lakers have plenty of young talent in Kuzma, Ingram and Ball, but they are still growing and trying to get better under James' leadership. But if Los Angeles winds up trading some of these stars for a superstar (hello, Anthony Davis), Kuzma might not get the chance to be part of a "death lineup" in Laker Land.
What This Means
Los Angeles will have to start piecing together some wins while LeBron is still sidelined, if they want to pose as a playoff threat in the Western Conference. Otherwise, the Lakers will simply continue to look like a team that relies too much on one player.