❗️First Post = A Lakers Post❗️
It’s SHOWTIME! At least it feels that way after enduring four consecutive seasons of hope-shattering Lakers basketball. This painful period in the franchise’s history totaled to an atrocious 91 wins and 237 losses to be exact.
The team began to show signs of decline following the dead-end trade for Dwight Howard during the summer of 2012. But it was the Achilles rupture heard around the world on April 12, 2013 that truly triggered this chaotic downslide.
That night, or nightmare rather, was the beginning of the end for Kobe “Bean” Bryant, as well as his era with the purple and gold.
From that moment forward there were countless defensive breakdowns, thousands of poorly executed offensive possessions, and discombobulation galore in the front office. The state of the franchise became such a mess, that even the Black Mamba himself couldn’t return the team to the championship contending stature that they enjoyed in previous years.
However, that was then, and this is now. It’s the rise of a new wave. One that if properly nurtured and developed, has the potential to swallow the NBA in its entirety.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson has replaced the not so beloved Jim Buss as the president of basketball operations, Brandon Ingram is trending all the way up, Julius Randle has returned in peak condition, and just in case you’ve been hiding under this planet … there’s a new sheriff running the show on the court. He’s 19 years old, he’s from Chino Hills, and his name is Lonzo Ball.
It was made crystal clear by Magic prior to the draft that Ingram is the only “untouchable” player on this Lakers roster. It’s also safe to assume that Ball has been added to that list after being drafted with the No. 2 overall pick back in June. So this leaves a few pieces of the young core currently hanging in the balance. Particularly guard Jordan Clarkson who is disgracefully underrated, and forward Julius Randle who is currently in a contract year.
The Lakers relinquishing the pipe dream of having D’Angelo Russell as the face of the franchise and trading him away was another huge step taken this offseason. He’s unquestionably a talented combo guard, but Tinseltown was clearly not the right setting for him.
In return, they received two players whom I believe will turn out to be HUGE pieces to the puzzle in the coming years; All-Star center Brook Lopez and No. 27 pick Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma was a pleasant surprise throughout summer league and the preseason. The 6’9″ 220 lb wing from the University of Utah has shown great promise on both ends of the court. So much so, that he’s suddenly placed head coach Luke Walton in a tough spot as he contends for minutes at the power forward slot. Kuzma even caused a certain celebrity fan to hint that maybe he should be “untouchable” instead of Ingram.
The other piece of the trade, Brook Lopez, is going to provide solid veteran leadership to the eighth youngest roster in the league (24.9 average age). He’s also arguably one of the top-five centers in the association in regards to overall skills. I would only place Karl Anthony-Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, and Marc Gasol ahead of him. The fifth who follows behind him is also debatable, but I’d say Nikola Jokic.
That particular trade was pretty big news. The signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the other hand seemingly flew under the radar.
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t watch too much “Deee-troit Basketball” last season, but I saw enough to know that his 3-and-D style will likely fit right into Walton’s pace and space plans for the offense. And hopefully he’ll help the Lakers stop some buckets along the way.
With all of that said, everything has to be put into perspective.
The Golden State Warriors still have two MVPs, the Oklahoma City Thunder just acquired both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, and the western conference is still supremely stacked. So the Lakers are not necessarily anywhere near contention by any stretch of the imagination. But as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would say, “They’re coming!”
One of the best parts about this is that the revolution WILL be televised since they are ranked fifth with 35 nationally televised games. The only downside is that the evolution preceding the revolution will be on display as well. This includes each and every ancillary growing pain.
My 2017-18 Lakers Season Forecast
- 10th in Western Conference
- 3rd in Pacific