(Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball)
The Lakers Have A Foundation
During Kobe Bryant’s last few seasons the Lakers appeared to be a team headed nowhere, with their best player on the way out and a hope to find superstars who would want to play on the team. The team’s best young player D’Angelo Russell was a joke to the league and never really developed as a passer or the scorer people hoped he would be. Today, the story has changed as the Lakers are now a young team that veteran would love playing for, instead of the team hoping that veteran would fall for the sunny beaches and flashy lifestyle.
The Lakers have a solid passing PG in Lonzo Ball who has shown that he has great leadership, plays unselfish basketball, and is a very good rebounder for his size; his numbers closely resemble soon to be Hall of Famer (Calling It Early) Jason Kidd. Ball has been, as good as the hype his father, LaVar Ball, hypes, but his scoring needs to improvement, which will come in time. SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been a big surprise on a one year contract as a “veteran” (he is only 24, but a 4 year vet) and he has been a solid 3-D player; although, he was mostly known as young inconsistent scorer. SF Brandon Ingram is considered the franchise player and center piece with the potential of Kevin Durant, as another lanky scorer who can do anything on the court, but he could still use more muscle to his frame and continue to get comfortable in his role as the leader of the team; his growth has been amazing. The PF position is where the team has been most versatile and has the most value. PF Larry Nance continues to fill the stat sheet and bring solid defense with a good inside/outside game on both ends; Coach Luke Walton referred to him as the team’s best player. PF Julius Randle has been a bully inside and has taken advantage of the minutes he has been given, but it has been tough to keep him off the floor. The surprise and star at PF has been rookie Kyle Kuzma who has the ability to play SF or PF, off the bench or as a starter, and there doesn’t seem to be anything he can’t do; the Lakers appear to have found a very rare gem in the draft who should be a Laker for years to come. Veteran C Brook Lopez has filled in nicely with his offensive game and has adjusted well to a role opposite of what he is used to, as the go to scorer. 6th man and serviceable spot starter Jordan Clarkson, another young prospect, has improved his shot selection and passing to become a very valuable asset when Ball is struggling with his shot and his ability to fill in at any guard position, basically identically.
The Lakers have a young team to build with and must decide what to do with their current vets Brook Lopez and KCP (Caldwell-Pope), as well as moving assets: possibly Randle and/or Clarkson. It was a lot of talk about Paul George going home to Cali to save the Lakers, but that is no longer needed and may no longer be a fit. The hope is for LeBron to head west, but for now the foundation starts with Ball, Ingram, and Kuzma.