Fans of the other 29 fan bases in the NBA are starting to hear and feel those familiar footsteps closing in on them. They are hearing things are possibly starting to come together for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have been in a rut since the 2012-13 season, which was the last season the franchise has made the postseason. This off-season, however, could not have went any better for the Lakers. Here are a few reasons why the Lakers should be considered an offseason winner.
The first reason is having much needed luck on their side in the draft lottery, enabling them to take the guy they wanted with the second overall pick in UCLA product Lonzo Ball. Ball is a big reason why this off-season for the Lakers has been a great one. His passing ability is already better than most in the league and he is an actual point guard players will love playing with. Not just his premier passing ability, but Ball also is very strong in the leadership department. Leaderships skills are rare for a young player coming out of college. Majority of the players in the league have a score first mentality with Ball’s past first mentality will make the Lakers appealing to free agents.
The second reason is trading away Timofey Mozgov, a head scratching signing last summer, which contributed to both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak being shown the door. Trading away Mozgov was a no brainer, as he was owed $37.5 million over the next three seasons. D’Angelo Russell was also included in the deal that sent them to the Brooklyn Nets, shocking the league. The Lakers acquired Brook Lopez, who averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 29.6 minutes per game last season for the Nets in 75 games played. If Lopez can stay healthy, which has been the main question regarding him in his career, he can give the Lakers good production in the middle.
The third reason is the drama going on with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James, the main target for the Lakers next summer in free agency, has not committed to staying with the Cavaliers beyond the 2017-18 season. With Kyrie Irving requesting a trade, it can give James a legitimate reason to consider joining the Lakers next summer. The Cavaliers, as constructed, have an older roster that is built to play in the half court. The Lakers are a real possibility for James, who will be 33 years of age next summer, to extend his championship window within the final years of his prime. With Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram leading the Lakers youth movement, they can also land another superstar to play alongside James. Some of those players are Paul George, Russell Westbrook, or DeMarcus Cousins. A combination of youth and another superstar to play with will be the Lakers plan. It could also make James’ decision to join the Lakers next summer so much easier.
The final reason is the Lakers revamped front office. With the President of basketball operations Magic Johnson doing an outstanding job thus far, Lakers’ fans are excited about what’s coming next. Jeanie Buss brought Johnson in because of his vision, his desire, and his business savvy, to get the Lakers back on top again. General manager Rob Pelinka, a former sports agent, has been confident that the Lakers losing ways will end. Johnson has also had success with the Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping turn both franchises around. He’ll also help the Lakers in recruiting and restoring a Laker brand that has taken some hits since 2013. Counting Johnson out will be a mistake, as he’s proven in his business ventures and as the Lakers President of basketball operations that everything he touches turns to gold.
Photo Credits: NBA