The Los Angeles Lakers and their fans had an extremely painful 2015-2016 season, finishing with a 17-65 record, the worst in franchise history. And with the departure of Kobe Bryant, it would be interesting to see how the Purple and Gold would move forward. They recently secured the 2nd overall draft pick, and the good news is that the top two prospects appear to have the potential of becoming franchise players someday. They took D’Angelo Russell in last year’s draft, and they are primed to add another solid piece to their roster.
It has been made clear that the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup are in dire need of a frontcourt upgrade. Roy Hibbert had been a disappointment. Julius Randle showed glimpses of brilliance in his first full season, but he needs somebody to help share the load. Fortunately for the Lakers, the consensus top 2 picks are both frontcourt players. Many believe that Ben Simmons would end up being chosen by the Sixers. In such a case, the Lakers would be left with Brandon Ingram, an offensive powerhouse in Duke.
It would be extremely interesting to see how events would turn out come June 23. Whether the Lakers end up with Simmons or Ingram, they can have a solid starting lineup consisting of very young and talented players. Of course, that is if they do not trade any of them. Their young core includes Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Randle and either Simmons or Ingram. Certain rumors abound, particularly about trading Clarkson and/or Randle to land a franchise player. But LA has plenty of cap space to sign an elite player while keeping their young talents.
Also of note is the coaching change in Lakerland. Byron Scott was replaced by Luke Walton, a former Laker himself. Many expect that Walton will give the young players of LA more playing time. It would also be interesting how Walton would assemble the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup once the draft is over and trades are made. Fans also eagerly await the new roster, with many expressing their desire to keep all the young talents in the hopes of attracting a franchise player to come to LA.
There are several big names in the coming free agency. The most notable are Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City. The one-time MVP is known as a scoring machine, with the ability to shoot from deep and drive to the basket. He also has excellent ball-handling skills despite being 6’11” tall. Surely, Durant will provide the Lakers with some much-needed scoring punch. Along with the developing trio of Randle, Russell and Clarkson, the Lakers already look so much better than their current starting lineup.
The Lakers bench also needs major tweaks. Brandon Bass and Nick Young were able to provide some scoring, but they were very inconsistent. Marcelo Huertas became an instant fan-favorite, especially with his passing skills. But he found it hard to keep up with the talented guards of this era on the defensive end of the floor. If the Lakers fail to sign a franchise player, then they can make significant adjustments to their bench to support their young core.
Neither Simmons nor Ingram can replace the legendary Kobe Bryant. But the Lakers can only hope that no matter who they end up with, that player turns out to be an All-star caliber player. They need to make adjustments to their bench and convince a franchise player to wear the Purple and Gold. Lakers fans are longing to bring back the winning ways of LA, and the upcoming season may prove to be the starting point for this storied franchise.