The Lakers Played LaVar Ball Week Exactly Right

The team has been a mess for more than half a decade now, and I can’t blame anyone who reads front office inaction as complacency. For the last few seasons in L.A. that criticism was spot on. But it wasn’t this week.

Whether the Lakers can stick with this restrained approach remains to be seen, but it’s been successful so far. On Thursday night, Lonzo finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, and the story was about basketball again. The Lakers got their third straight win, and while there will definitely be a lot more losses to come, the future is still fairly bright. It looks like the team hit on all three first–rounds picks last June with Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Lonzo. It’s also becoming clearer and clearer that Brandon Ingram is a future All-Star, while every other contract on the roster is either a) expiring, b) Luol Deng, or c) workable as a trade asset before a summer that could require a lot of flexibility and creativity.

Watching columns swirl around Magic and Pelinka all week and following the game Thursday night, I thought about that juggling act, the First Take bait they refused to take this week, and what everyone seems to be missing as the year unfolds: there’s a chance these Lakers are much smarter than anyone realizes.