With Brandon Ingram, the Lights in Los Angeles Just Got Brighter
Things are looking up for the Lakers with the addition of (presumably) another young star to their core.
It is officially the NBA off-season now that the Finals have wrapped up, the Draft has come and gone, and trade rumors have been starting to run rampant around the league.
It’s go time for all the team owners, presidents, general managers, and coaches to do all the heavy lifting and make all the moves to create the best possible team for the start of the season in October.
This scenario isn’t anything new for Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Lakers co-owners Jim and Jeanie Buss who are in for another season of trying to get valuable pieces for their team now that they have officially entered the Post-Kobe era.
The first thing the Lakers had to do was to find a new coach that can develop all their young players and they got it in Luke Walton. After hiring Walton, the Lakers decided to use their 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft to select Brandon Ingram from Duke University, a lanky small forward that some analysts mirror to Kevin Durant, with the ability to score and defend from the perimeter and has the potential to be a superstar in this league.
With the addition of Ingram, the Lakers now have a budding young core who have the potential to develop into All-Stars in the future. It will be exciting for Laker fans this upcoming season to see a starting lineup that will probably consist of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle running Luke Walton’s new offensive system (which will probably be similar to that of Steve Kerr’s) that encourages ball movement and player movement in a free flowing offense.
Now that the Lakers have the players they want to start the rebuilding process, and the coach that can develop them, their focus now shifts to free agency. The Lakers will have the most cap space available in the league at around $70 Million which will be used to try and lure top-tier free agents and fill out a roster that only has six players under contract so far. It’s hopeful to think that maybe one or two superstar players would want to sign with the team next month but realistically, the team will probably not have any reasonable shot at acquiring top-tier free agents this off-season.
This may sound disappointing to some Laker fans who are really rooting for the team to make the playoffs again after missing it the past three seasons but even without a marquee free agent, it’s almost certain that the Lakers are going to improve next season with a coach that is looking to create a new culture within the organization and the young players who obviously have more experience coming into the next season. It’s also clear that the team is planning to rebuild the old-fashioned way which is through developing their young players into stars. This was pretty evident when they kept the pick and selected 19-Year-Old Brandon Ingram instead of trading it away to try and get a superstar in exchange.
The Lakers are nowhere near title contention right now but they have been making all the right moves so far to give them a better chance at being a successful team again in the near future. With a bit of luck and a lot of patience, the Lakers can get back to their winning ways sooner than expected.