Lakers losing that magic
Another year, another lottery pick for the Los Angeles Lakers. But this year, that lottery pick — in this case Brandon Ingram, of Duke, was supposed to be the start of a big re-build.
The winning and championship era of Kobe Bryant is over. He went through his farewell season, including an incredibly iconic final game. He is now retired. The Lakers have cap space, a young core, Los Angeles, and plenty of history, which was meant to be enough to start over.
After the first swell of free agency, here's what they got: Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, and a re-signed Jordan Clarkson. What they didn't get was a meeting with Kevin Durrant or any top tier free agents. What they did was spend $186 million on three players that might, maybe, kinda, sorta, make them a lower tier team in the Western Conference.
Sound too harsh?
Look at the Lakers' roster — Deangelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and Nick Young in the back court. Larry Nance, Jr., Julius Randle, Ingram, Deng and Mozgov in the front court. I'm sure there will be a few others on the roster — maybe even some free agents — but that's hardly the extreme makeover most fans were expecting.
The word is the Lakers have been unable to lure big talent to even meet with the team, which is a far cry from most of the last 20 years when the stars have flocked to Los Angeles and the history of the Lakers. This is a team that's seemingly always had stars to drive the engine, but now the cupboard appears bare.
Best Case Scenario: Deng and Movgov are great veteran contributors, Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Nance, Jr. and Ingram come on strong and the Lakers squeak into the eighth spot in the playoffs. And that, mind you, is the best case scenario.
The worst case scenario? The Lakers are back in the lottery next summer, and back to the drawing board in trying to build a team capable of competing in the Western Conference.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.