History. Hall of Famers. Hollywood.
Those words pretty much describe the fabled franchise that is the Los Angeles Lakers.
But the last few seasons hasn’t been particularly about glitz and glamour for the purple and gold. The last time the playoff decals was on the Staples Center floor for the Lakers was in the 2012-2013 season when they were swept in the first round by Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs.
Magic Johnson came back to the franchise as Team President with Kobe Bryant’s former long-time agent Rob Pelinka by his side as the General Manager in the hopes of bringing the franchise back to its lofty status. Luke Walton was hired as coach and they drafted local hero Lonzo Ball of UCLA, who Magic Johnson anointed as the Lakers next big star.
While Ball has been widely criticized by the media, NBA stars has nothing but good things to say about the 20 year-old and his fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma.
4-time MVP LeBron James had this to say about Ball: “I think he’s going to be a really, really good point guard in our league, probably a great point guard if he continues to work on his craft, which it seems like he does. They got a good one.”
2-time champ and former MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors also had this to say ahead of his much anticipated showdown with Ball:
“Early in my sophomore and junior years in high school, there was a little extra pressure because of who my dad was,” Curry said, “and I felt like everybody was kind of critiquing my every move on the court, and I was already not getting recruited or anything. I was always playing to be recognized by coaches. So, I had pressure on myself anyway. Whenever you miss a shot, the crowd goes crazy, and only for your misses and nobody else’s. The high school cheering sections going at me, and hounding me the whole game. Even in college, the same type of deal. It rubs you the wrong way a little bit. I had to go through those experiences.
“But at the end of the day, I taught myself how to have a sense of humor about it and understand that it kind of comes with the territory of choosing the same sport that my pops played, and dealing with it that way. [Lonzo] can’t let what people say bother him.
“Use it as motivation.”
It’s crazy how the media and the NBA veterans are night and day when it comes to assessing the Lakers.
Regardless of what the media say about these current Lakers or the cap space that they have, the performance of the team this year will be the telling factor if the big name free agents would want to sign with the team next summer.