Ya, we're not pretending, it's mainly a work in progress and we know going in that we weren't going to nail it on the first try. We knew that some items were going to be bound to certain champions, but we were just trying to avoid designing a hard bound choice from the get go.
I think there's a good amount of "we haven't designed the best choice structures" and that's on us, but there's also a good amount of "there are many choices that aren't yet discovered" (similar to Liandrys vs Morellos last season or Ludens vs Archangels vs GLP).
Just because a given player is opting into buying the same items every game, doesn't mean the choices don't exist. And for the players that are interested in optimizing those choices and theorycrafting them, then they can gain an edge that way and that's great.