Why You Should Watch the Los Angeles Lakers
Current Record: 15-30 13th in Western Conference
The citizens of Los Angeles are hoping for a brighter future as Kobe Bryant ascended into basketball heaven. Enter a young core of talent staring D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and promising rookie Brandon Ingram.
Coach Luke Walton has done a fantastic job despite the losing record, the Lakers have found the right blueprint into rebuilding a dangerous dark horse team. Walton and his coaching staff has held both his rookies and veterans accountable, in which he wants them to earn their minutes. The Lakers organization can lock up their young nucleus for the near future and they also brought in seasoned veterans that will help give this team some maturity. Nobody expected the Lakers to open the season with a 10-10 record. Even though they are currently 15-30, there’s still plenty of reasons to cheer for them if you’re a Laker fan.
D’Angelo Russell has improved his play as of late. Russell is averaging 16.3 PPG 5.3 RPG 4.7 APG with 1.8 3-pointers in 2017. These numbers are nothing spectacular compared to his alums Kristaps Porzingis and Karl Anthony-Towns. To be fair, those players are in different roles and systems. But let’s not forget D’Angelo Russell is still a baby at the age of 20. There are the obvious shooting woes and turnovers issues in his game. But once he figures that out? Watch out NBA. I’m going to keep saying this; A point guard who is 6’5 with great floor vision and a 3 ball don’t grow on trees.
Brandon Ingram was said to be the next Kevin Durant. Let’s stop there, he’s not. Kevin Durant came into the NBA, messed around and averaged 20 points per game. Brandon Ingram is not the next Kevin Durant, and that’s okay. He doesn’t need to be because Kevin Durant is an obvious once in a generation type of player. Ingram has the tools to be an elite two-way in this league. At just 19 years old, he still has room to build muscle and possibly grow taller. Ingram has a 7’3 wingspan and a 9’1 ½ standing reach like a center or a power forward. While he doesn’t have the scoring ability like Durant, he has a feathery shooting touch with very nimble feet for a player his size. The Lakers drafted him because of his unlocked potential, not because he was the best player coming out of the draft.
Then there’s Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Julius Randle is the probably the least talked about player but he has been the Laker’s most consistent performer this season. Randle is averaging 13.4 PPG 8.7 RPG with 3.8 APG on the season. He has shown glimpses of a Draymond Green/Lamar Odom hybrid and that’s all the Lakers can ask for from an undersized power forward. Randle has an extremely strong body and that’s enabled him to bang down low with the rest of the NBA. Randle can make up his lack of size with his speed and quickness, in which he can start and initiate a fast break and create off a rebound. He has much to improve like his teammates, like developing an offensive post game which will make him a much more complete player.
Although Clarkson didn’t have the season many imagined yet, he has done what the Lakers and the coaching staff asked him to do. He has provided and ignited the Lakers bench unit all season and he’s still a key part of the Lakers future. Let’s not forget the Lakers picked him up with the 46th pick in 2014 and he has blossomed into a young star. With all the crazy contracts that some of the NBA players like E’Tawn Moore and Evan Fournier got this past offseason, the Lakers signed Clarkson at a discount for 4 years at $50 million. That’s a bargain.
There’s also Nick Young aka Swaggy P, who is playing far better this season than anyone imagined.
Seriously though, Nick Young has actually been great this season.
There are no guarantees at all with the Lakers young squad, but there’s so many promising glimpses and upside that you have to believe the Lakers are going to come back to relevance. With the Golden State Warriors running the show in the West for at least the next 4-5 years, Lakers fans shouldn’t rush this Laker squad. They will have plenty of time to gel and form a formidable team. They have a promising future, with a young coach that is well-liked around the league. Whether it is free agency, patience, or the draft, Lakers are surely going to be fun to watch again.