It’s been a little more than a year since Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA, officially ending the Kobe era in Los Angeles. The Lakers have a good young core and with the NBA Draft and free agency starting soon, the Lakers must make moves to become more competitive. Let’s look at some of the decisions that may have to be made in order for Los Angeles to speed up their rebuilding process.
A consistent perimeter scorer
Right now, the Lakers lack a perimeter player who can create their own shot consistently. Although they do possess a promising young two-way star in Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles needs another guard alongside Ingram who can help fill in this void. An option for this job could be Otto Porter Jr. He’s not a household name, but he can put the ball on the floor and shoot the three-ball. Porter witnessed career-highs in two-point percentage (57.6 percent) as well as three-point percentage (43.4 percent) in 2017. In addition, Porter also averaged 13.4 points and six rebounds per game while playing 32 minutes per night in his third professional season.
Keep in mind Gordon Hayward is also a free agent, but as of now there are zero indications that Hayward expresses any interest in signing with the Lakers. If Los Angeles wants to reap the benefits of a consistent scorer right away though, their best option would be to trade their No. 2 pick to the Pacers for Paul George. While the Lakers would have a chance next year in free agency to nab him up, trading your pick for a 28 year-old player at this point may not be the best choice.
A bigger front court
The Lakers have several options with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, if they were to keep it. The speculation is that they will go with UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball. From afar, this doesn’t make much sense considering they already have two young guards in Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell. In the past couple of weeks, the Lakers’ front office has shown deep interest in Kansas’ forward Josh Jackson. During his two workouts with the Lakers, Jackson featured dazzling versatility on both sides of the floor.
While at Kansas, Jackson showed the capability that he CAN contribute immediately to a modern-day NBA roster. By defending up to four positions throughout the course of a game, this would provide coach Luke Walton options to fit him into his small-ball unit. Jackson’s addition for the most part appears natural for Los Angeles, although it would put Walton in a bind schematically as it leaves Ingram at the 3.
In the end, the Lakers would be wise to play Ivica Zubac more this coming year. The young Croatian played well when given ample playing time – such as averaging 16.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and two blocks per 36 minutes. Kareem Abdul-Jabar had previously stated that he wants to mentor Zubac, which indicates the Lakers have long-term plans for the budding center.
Lavar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball, has been on quite the marketing campaign for his son to become a Laker. From quote’s about him beating Michael Jordan in his prime, to making the claim that his son is better than former MVP and two-time NBA champion Stephen Curry, Lavar sure has placed a target squarely on his son’s back. With the core of the Lakers team being very young, they need to avoid unnecessary drama and Ball altogether. If they do in fact draft Lonzo though, strict guidelines regarding the presence of his father need to be implemented. Those guidelines need to include Lonzo keeping his father in check. After all, the Lakers will be drafting Lonzo Ball and not Lavar. Lavar doing anything more than being a fan at the games should be forbidden.
Lavar was known to have caused locker room issues at Chino Hills High School. What has been done to make anyone believe it would be any different now? Do NBA players want to deal with a father that has a big mouth in regards to his son being better than them? The maturity of the Lakers’ roster needs to be looked at in regards to the decision made on draft day, as it could become a disaster that the Lakers are left with for years to come.