It goes without saying the Lakers have screwed up recently in terms of young talent they have allowed to walk out the door. This isn’t saying the talent they chose to keep is inferior but that if they had kept all of their young team pieces and assets they would be in a very good spot headed into next season if not this one. 4 out of 5 the past Lakers they’ve allowed to walk out the door will be In the Playoffs while the Lakers won’t be. Here is how they have done since the All-Star Break.
Lonzo has been the anchor to the Lakers Defense this season, as we saw last year the Lakers were a totally different team on both ends without Lonzo Ball. Even if you aren’t sold on him as a future star his impact is becoming unquestionable. There are also many who believe Ingram or Kuzma will be stars if not both; and who better to run that offense for the next decade than Lonzo? Here are some defensive numbers and stats for Lonzo and the Lakers from this season.
Right before his injury BI was finally showing eveything the Lakers were hoping for and then some. With another offseason for Ingram and Lonzo to develop I find it awfully difficult to believe they aren’t about to take a Huge leap in their third and fourth seasons in the NBA. Ingram is on the cusp of stardom, and with Lonzo helping him on the defensive end the Lakers and Ingram would actually get credit for their stats when they win and make playoffs next season.
Kuzma and Hart are the two members of the young core who have over played their draft position at times and made names for themselves on opposite ends of the Court. Hopefully Hart and Kuzma can become more consistent shooters and Kuzma can become a better defender in the offseason. Kuzma and Hart both play much better with Lonzo on the Court as well, a lot of this may be because of their chemistry and time together.
Lakers are a top defensive team In the league when Lonzo is healthy, I expect them to cover multiple holes this offseason in their defense as well as their spacing. A big problem for the Lakers Defense was long missed shots and turnovers. If they can sure up the roster with legit defenders (not ones past their prime) and have good health for the first time in their careers the Lakers will be legitimate without the addition of a defensive star. The Lakers Defense however is contingent on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram being a part of the team, as the Lakers have the Defensive Rating in the NBA when they share the court.
Long Term Stability
Short and sweet, 3-6 years of Lebron or 10-15 Years Of Lonzo, Ingram, Kuzma, Hart, Lottery Pick to Be Dertermined.
Lebron is 34 and going to be 35 by time he can play in the playoffs next, Why get rid of multiple young pieces when one bad injury to Lebron and the Lakers could miss the playoffs yet again. In such a competitive confrence, why not fill the roster with legitimate NBA Players and talents. Not players who were past their prime years ago, or never had one at all.
If this lottery pick is Zion the answer becomes clear. The Lakers should keep their entire core and even trade Lebron if need be to develop their youth. However with the success the Lakers have had in recent years drafting, I’m sure they will have no issue picking the correct player at whatever position they win in the lottery. The problem is will they utilize, keep, and believe in the prospect they Draft?
Last season was a lot more fun too watch and had a different feeling than constantly being let down or having to deal with constant injuries (which they had last year too). I’m hoping Lebron finally gives the reigns to Lonzo and allows him to run the show, allowing the Lakers offense and Lebron’s game to evolve. It’s time for Lebron to relinquish control and after a healthy offseason Lonzo Ball will be ready.