The Los Angeles Lakers are back. Is this what controlling owner Jeanie Buss envisioned when she relieved brother Jim Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak of their duties? Isn’t this why Magic Johnson was brought back into the fold? The new-look Lakers featuring: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma have brought showtime back to Hollywood.
The Los Angeles Lakers have gone 4 years without being competitive. They are no longer in tank mode, they’re in win now mode. In year 2 of the Luke Walton experience, Laker Nation have watched this team compete night in and night out. While being fun to watch and growing as a team. From beating a top team in the East the Washington Wizards to a ferocious comeback against Portland in a hostile environment, both of which are perennial playoff teams. They’re back from the aspect of competing for a playoff spot. Who would have thought that four years ago? There is no reason that they can’t compete for the 7th or 8th seed in the Western Conference.
There is no star on this team yet. You are watching the growing pains that come and go with young players and you’re watching them get better. Take one Lonzo Ball, he is the true point guard the Lakers have been waiting for since the sudden retirement of Magic Johnson. For the most part he has been really good and getting guys set up for shots they’re accustomed of taking. However, he is getting a reputation for becoming passive off certain looks he gets off the pick and roll. If the defending big doesn’t blitz him and stay at home off the pick and roll instead of attacking the big he instantly looks for a teammate to kick out to. This is playing into the defenses hands. The Lakers are essentially playing 4 on 5 on offense. Without the aggressive play of Ball of the pick it allows the defense stay at home on their man while the play clock dwindles down, which usually ends in a rushed shot. This is a big part of why they have leagues 21st ranked offense in the league. Even with the growing pains of playing one of the hardest positions in the NBA no one can really doubt that Lonzo will be special. His draft counterpart Kyle Kuzma has taken the NBA by storm. He is the stretch big that many teams are looking to acquire in the modern NBA. He can rebound, great at switching on the defensive end, and the offense is a spark plug that leads the second unit. In 26 mins, Kuzma is averaging 15 points per game, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists on 54.3% shooting.
This two rookies are wise beyond their years. They’re going to have an impact on if and when the Lakers make it back to championship contention. Lakers front office absolutely knocked it out of the part with this current draft class. It is only a matter of time before they attract stars to pair with these two bright rookies. And yes guys, the Lakers are back! But most importantly showtime is back.