Blow It Up or Nah: Which NBA Lottery Teams Need to Start over This Offseason?
— togepasar (@togepasar_721) April 19, 2017
Los Angeles Lakers
Don’t be fooled by the 26-56 record, which left the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of only the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets.
Los Angeles was never set up to win. And it didn’t.
Instead, this was a season of development under first-year head coach Luke Walton, and a number of players made significant strides. No one will make much noise in the Most Improved Player race, but Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr. and Nick Young all proved they could hold their own as legitimate rotation pieces. Plus, rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac flashed upside that should have the Purple and Gold excited about their futures.
That’s already six players who should be relevant in Los Angeles for a while, though there’s no telling how high the stocks could rise for Russell and Ingram. The former is frustratingly inconsistent but shows signs of spectacular vision and shot-making ability. The latter was overwhelmed when faced with a steep learning curve during his rookie season, especially given a slender physique that made banging around with other small forwards a near impossibility.
Both could be superstars one day. There are just no guarantees.
But even if Ingram and Russell stagnate, why would the Lakers blow things up? Barring pingpong-ball disaster, they’ll soon be adding another top-tier prospect to their coffers, and they’ll have plenty of money to spend in free agency.
It might be tough for fans spoiled by decades of success to accept, but losing is sometimes a necessary stage in the NBA. The Lakers are on the right track, even if patience is necessary for a while longer.