Season Preview: Los Angeles Lakers

As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Day seven’s daily release of a season preview ends up being the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers. I will provide a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for.

Los Angeles Lakers:

Record: 21-61

Playoffs: Missed playoffs

Laker fans have been treated well for the past few decades with consistent winning seasons, and now they are suffering through the depressive, rebuilding state they are currently in. Kobe Bryant was lost early in the season, causing almost all hope for the franchise to have a winning season to be gone yet again. Julius Randle, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft was lost for the season as well, due to a injury right at the beginning of the season. Now with one of their all-time franchise greats sidelined, and the franchise hope for another star hurt, the team had to rely upon Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, and Jordan Clarkson for production. Clarkson did excel for the Lakers, and looks to have the potential to be their point guard of the future. The offseason was suppose to be a big one for the Lakers with all their cap space and high lottery selection, but with things changing in the NBA, Los Angeles will need to reevaluate how they do things, and use their franchise image.

Lottery night was a huge win for the Los Angeles Lakers, who were projected to get the fourth overall pick, but ended up with the second overall pick. This was huge for Los Angeles, as many now thought they could now secure the big man down-low they desperately needed. The days leading up to the draft, rumors began to swirl the Lakers were becoming enamored with Ohio State’s combo guard, D’Angelo Russell. On draft night, Los Angeles made this rumor a reality, when they did select Russell. Many were stunned, as Okafor looked like the more pro-ready prospect, but Los Angeles liked the “it” factor of Russell, and figured Kobe would be able to bring that even more out, and create a superstar. Russell did have a rough summer league, but with further development, and Kobe’s teachings, Russell should one day be a star player in this league. Later in the first round, Los Angeles selected Larry Nance Jr, who’s biggest claim to fame was his infamous tweet about Kobe Bryant a few years prior. The tweet has been worked out according to members of the team, but we know the Black Mamba will not forget when they match-up in practice. Other rookies on the team are, Anthony Brown, Michael Frazier, and Jonathan Holmes, players who look to just be there for depth, and do not look to be major contributors, even off the bench.

The offseason was a strange one to say the least. Los Angeles was in the hunt for star forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, but as we know, he signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Los Angeles’s back-up plan of Cleveland Cavalier forward, Kevin Love did not pan out either, as he signed a long-term extension with the Cavaliers. With the two main stars signed away, and the majority of the other top free agents signed, Los Angeles had to again deal with the leftover free agents to build their roster. Los Angeles signed Brandon Bass and Lou Williams, both are solid veteran contributors. Williams is coming off winning sixth-man of the year, which is critical for Los Angeles, as their inability to score was downright pitiful last season. Bass is a much improved upgrade over Carlos Boozer, and will be a good bench piece, if Los Angeles chooses to start Randleat power forward for his development and higher upside. Los Angeles also traded for former Indiana Pacer center, Roy Hibbert, who they hope can rediscover himself, and can provide consistent contributions on both ends of the court. The offseason did not provide any big name free agents, but it did help make this team more competitive, and maybe able to surprise people this season.

Improvement for this team is on the way for Los Angeles, it just may take a year or two to get back to the playoffs. Although some fans want to be back in the playoffs, the overall talent on the roster is just not there to compete in the Western Conference, and for the future’s sake, Los Angeles should hope for a bottom three finish, as their 2016 first round pick belongs to Philadelphia, if it falls between picks 4-30. Unfortunately for the Laker’s organization, they will not be this bad, not with Kobe on their team and playing. The bench play will be a lot better with the additions of Lou Williams, who while Kobe gets a breather, will be able to light up the scoreboard, and keep opposing teams playing honest defense. Brandon Bass will provide veteran leadership for the bench, as well as a ability to stretch the floor and rebound. The return of a healthy Julius Randle should provide a great rebounding presence to both ends off the court, and an offensive presence down-low. Hibbert, if he can rediscover his old form, can dominate the glass, get some easy baskets, and most importantly defend the rim. Hibbert will be a huge X-Factor for Los Angeles. This is a contract year for Hibbert, so if he can have a big year, he could get another big contract before his career is over. If Hibbert has a good season, it could transform the Laker’s season into one of mediocre to one of a potential postseason bid. Jordan Clarkson’s further development will also be critical for a successful season, as we do not know if Clarkson’s production was a product of his environment or if he can be relied upon for consistent production. D’Angelo Russell will also need to speed up his development, as his crafty ability to score will come in handy off the bench. The season hangs on the development of this team as a whole. They do not have the best starting five, bench, or coaching, but if they can form chemistry and everyone plays to their potential, Los Angeles could be a surprise team this upcoming season, but for now, expect a better product, but not a postseason bid.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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