In John Schuhmann's mid-summer Western Conference power rankings, the acquisition of LeBron James places the Los Angeles Lakers as the eighth-best team in a top-heavy conference.
MORE: Mid-Summer Eastern Conference power rankings
The defending-champion Warriors take the top spot, while the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz come in at second and third, respectively. By all accounts, the Warriors have managed to get even better by acquiring another All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins, while the Rockets are coming off a record-setting 67-win season. According to Schuhmann, the uncertainty surrounding the Lakers' acquisitions outside of James lands them right on the fringe of playoff contention.
There's no better way to improve your team than by adding LeBron James. And there's no weirder way to complement James than by adding Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson.
Yes, the Cavs needed more playmaking around James last season. But surrounding James with shooting is the simplest way to build a top-10 offence. The Lakers ranked 29th in 3-point percentage last season and, despite all the additions they made, are one of only three teams that doesn't have a player who ranks in the top 50 in 3-point percentage (among players with at least 500 3-point attempts) over the last three years.
But this will be fun to watch, largely just to see how Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma develop around the best player in the world.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves round out Schuhmann's top five, while the Nuggets and Pelicans are the other two teams perceived to qualify for the postseason. San Antonio and Portland fall at ninth and tenth, signifying an imminent dropoff for two teams that qualified for the 2018 playoffs.