It seems like the Lakers are stepping in the right direction, but as far as wining goes, let’s face it, they’re not contenders. This off-season was another tough outing as the Lakers weren’t able to land any big name players, and didn’t make any trades that were significant. Though there are some changes that have been made, the grade they get this off-season is a D. Here’s why.
—The Lakers missed the biggest mark this season. Picking up a free agent. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, in most sports a free agent is a player whose contract has expired and has two options: Re-sign with the team or move on to another team for a better chance at winning or money. The Lakers had cap space, and one of the greatest players on the planet. They weren’t able to get LaMarcus Aldridge and there is a reason for that. Kobe Bryant told him that he could be Pau Gasol. That the best power forward in the game right now could be his sidekick. As much as I love Kobe Bryant, that is horrible strategy. Going into the stadium is enough to woo any person to the Lakers side. Looking up at the retired jerseys and banners of championships makes you want to play in L.A. Kobe doesn’t have much time left so he really should have painted a picture of a teacher-student relationship, building a culture around him, making it about passing the torch, carrying a franchise, not picturing a Batman-and-Robin type scenario.
—Letting Jordan Hill go is definitely a bad move. Forget the money, forget the strategy. The man can play basketball. Missing out on Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and not drafting a big man makes them difficult to add big man depth. Trading for Roy Hibbert is a good cover up, but with the way he played for the Pacers the last two seasons and pretty much being made fun of on every social media page, I’m not sure just “a rim protector” is enough for the Lakers. Another guy that’s coming in is the underrated Brandon Bass, but he’s an unproven commodity who was forced out of a Celtics team that’s stocking up on young talent and has pretty much aced the young power forward and center positions as of right now. Last season he produced points and rebounds for Boston.
—Keeping this short, the Lakers wasted their second draft pick on Larry Nance Jr. This is purely my personal opinion, there were better options than him. Like R.J. Hunter maybe. He’s a really great shooter and has tremendous upside. I’d rather go with him than the guy that decided to call Kobe Bryant a “criminal” in regards to his scandal in Denver involving alleged rape. Starting off with bad blood with Kobe Bryant, not a great idea. I think practice is going to be the least of his problems.
—The only one that I can appreciate is D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Russell is a tremendous player with huge upside. He can handle the ball, create opportunities, shoot, and play the game of basketball. I think the one that many people can really appreciate is that he’s the future of the Lakers but more importantly Julius Randle in his first real NBA season. After breaking his leg in the first game last season, Randle seems ready to play and after the small moments of awesome play that was shown in the Summer League. I’m excited to see the two of them play together.
The negatives outweigh the positives and, being completely honest, the only thing that I want to say in regards to anything positive is the addition of Lou Williams. He’s completely great as an addition, but bad in terms of hopes to win a championship. Hopefully the Lakers can win 30 or more games this season and make a larger impact on the league in hopes to acquire more talent.