The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the two greatest franchises in NBA history. However, the legendary team finally hit a rough patch after years of winning. Having recorded 55 losses, 61 losses, and 65 losses in the last 3 seasons, the dynasty faces overwhelming pressure to get back to their winning ways and fast.
Champions Are Trained, Not Born.
Luke Walton is a brilliant signing for head coach to lead the developing young players. With the acquisition of Walton, the Lakers now have an experienced and qualified coach as a step in the right direction. As interim coach during Steve Kerr's absence last season, Walton lead the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record and arguably deserved the NBA Coach of the Year award as he coached 4 more games than Kerr. Coach Walton will be a vital component of the team's success as he strives to implement a selfless winning basketball play style.
Farewell, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant is a popular household name that's always mentioned in the conversation of the greatest players of all time. While his position amongst the best players in history causes widespread controversy, Kobe gave the Lakers some of their best years. However, after coming back from severe injuries late in his career, he struggled and that lead to the decline of the Los Angeles Lakers. Due to his bad shot selection, poor FG%'s, and tendency to stop ball rotation, Kobe became a liability instead of an asset at 37 years old. Despite his downfall due to potential career ending injuries, Kobe remained a favorable starter anyway due to his legendary career with the team. Upon his retirement, fans rejoiced despite the end of an era because it would give a proper opportunity for the Lakers to rebuild.
Old but Gold
The Lakers had a successful offseason by signing players complementary to their roster despite not fulfilling the expectation to sign a star. Luol Deng who averaged 12 pts and 6 reb last season has the ability to provide three point shots, good defense, and an all around versatile play style. Despite his success last season, Deng has had a slow start to the season having trouble getting his shot to fall and fans hope he adjusts to the system soon. The next significant signing is in the form of Timofey Mozgov despite his controversial contract. People were outraged seeing a 4 year / $64 million in signing but it is a direct result of the cap space increasing. Mozgov has potential to be beneficial to the Lakers as he provides paint presence and rim protection. Fans also forget he averaged 14 pts and 7 reb in the 2015-2016 NBA Finals against the Warriors and has the ability to regain his form after becoming unfavorable in the Cavaliers' system and sidelined due to injury. Calderon was the last significant signing providing assists and a consistent three point shot throughout his entire career while providing ball movement. The Lakers also retained offensive threat Lou Williams who averaged 15 pts last season and defensive specialist Metta World Peace. Nick Young has arguably been one of our best players with his ability to spread the floor and knock down three point shots complementing Coach Walton's offensive system. These veterans will be vital to the Lakers success as their experience will allow them to provide guidance to develop the young core.
The Bright Future
The Los Angeles Lakers possess one of the brightest futures due to their multiple valuable young pieces. The former leading man, Jordan Clarkson, is entering his third year after averaging 15-4-2 with his ball handling ability, offensive skill, and agility. He's now assigned to the bench as coach Walton sought to balance out starting roles and the second unit. Their starting point guard, D'Angelo Russell, is entering his sophomore year after averaging 13 pts and 3 reb. He has become a deadly shooter and has ability to run the Lakers offense while knocking down clutch shots. They also acquired Julius Randle who's entering his third year after averaging 11-10-2 with his tremendous finishing in the paint and decent mid range jumper. Finally, Brandon Ingram is set to enter his rookie year adding length and shooting after averaging 17-7-2 during his Duke years. The youthful lineup of Clarkson, Russell, Randle, and Ingram will grow to be a successful young core once developed and will make a lot of noise for the years to come having the potential to become four all-stars. The Lakers also have potentially decent role players once developed with Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac.
Trust the Process
After these important changes and improvements, the Lakers have surprised fans across the NBA with their successful start to the 2016-2017 NBA season. They managed to sit at a .500 at 10 wins and 10 losses after 20 games which already exceeded everyone's expectations compared to last year's season. However, the Lakers find themselves in trouble as they deal with injuries amongst Russell, Randle, Young, Black, and Calderon. Once the team gets healthy again, they will continue their run to fight for the 8th seed in the western conference for the playoffs.