Currently sitting at a whopping 14-51, the Los Angeles Lakers are in their worst era in franchise history. With three losing seasons in a row now, the Lakers fan base is growing tired of their lack of success. It is very easy to point out the issues the Lakers are having, but are they just re-building? I will explain exactly how the Lakers can turn things around for themselves, and form back into the team we grew up loving (yet hating at the same time).
The Coaching of Byron Scott
I actually believe Byron Scott is the perfect fit for the Lakers right now. Wins do not make a coach great in my eyes, because the Lakers have something else; player development. Coach Scott has called out Julius Randle, and now Randle is playing like he would start on any given NBA roster at the power forward spot.
Remember when the Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick? Everyone set him up like he was meant to be the face of the franchise, but that isn’t how things work. Coach Scott literally has benched Russell for the majority of games based on his attitude, forcing him to grow and mature. Now? Russell is playing lights out on most occasions recently, putting up staggering statistics for himself.
The Free Agency
The Lakers stayed remotely quiet in the 2015 NBA free agency period, signing Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, and Brandon Bass (all non-star players to me). In 2016, I expect the Lakers to at least go out and make a few offers to guys such as Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Andre Drummond, Rajon Rondo, and more.
The Lakers will have 7 slots open next season on their roster, and I would expect for them to go after a big man since Roy Hibbert will not be under contract.
The Lakers currently will be in favor of keeping their pick based on their record since it is top 4 protected. Anything outside of the top 4 though, and the Lakers will lose their first rounder.
If the Lakers land the #2 or #3 pick, I still expect Ben Simmons to fall down to them. Simmons is a great pickup, even if he isn’t on the #1 ranked team in the country. With the ability to play in paint, as well as hit his perimeter shots, Simmons is natural basketball player that the Lakers could plug in at small forward or even a power forward to come off the bench until he develops (much like Randle and Russell have done under Scott).
The Departure of Kobe Bryant
I hate to say it, but I am personally ready for the Lakers to move on from Kobe, simply because I am curious to what they can do without him. Kobe is a proven leader and an NBA legend, don’t get me wrong, but he has weighed the team down season after season recently.
In multiple games, there are times when the Lakers lose by 8 for example. You look at the stats? Kobe shoots 8-26 from the field. It just makes you wonder “what if someone else shot the ball?”
The Young Core
If the Lakers can keep Jordan Clarkson, they will turn into a dangerous and young basketball team. Nick Young, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr, and Clarkson are just a few names on this team that have many years ahead of them in the league. Not many teams can go out and say the same thing the Lakers can.
All the Lakers core players have proven signs of maturity and improvement, but it is up to the team to develop and work towards another ring. Give it 1 years, or give it 10 years, but the Lakers will be back in the mix eventually.