Record: 26 – 56 (14th in the West)
Season Ended: No Playoffs
Lonzo Ball (PG), Kyle Kuzma (SF/PF), Thomas Bryant (C)
Andrew Bogut (C), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)
Brook Lopez (C)
Nick Young, Thomas Robinson, David Nwaba, D’Angelo Russell
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Lonzo Ball (Rookie)
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (14 pts, 3 reb, 3 ast)
SF: Brandon Ingram (9 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast)
PF: Julius Randle (13 pts, 9 reb, 4 ast)
C: Brook Lopez (21 pts, 5 reb, 2 blk)
Larry Nance, Jr (PF), Kyle Kuzma (SF/PF), Tyler Ennis (PG), Jordan Clarkson (PG/SG), Luol Deng (SF), Ivica Zubac (C)
Major Story lines
Lonzo Ball bringing back Showtime? – Magic Johnson was salivating over drafting the ball moving PG Lonzo to run his offense. Though I have my feelings about Ball I won’t deny his affect on a team. The Lakers are going to have fun and with the long and athletic guys they are surrounding Lonzo with I expect a lot of highlights coming out of LA.
Kyle Kuzma?!? – It started in the Summer League. This kid from Utah gets drafted in the first round after impressing in workouts, then shows up in Vegas and decides he wants to shoot 50% from 3 (he was 24/50). He carried that momentum over into the Preseason where I’ve heard his name more than I’ve heard Lonzo’s. He’s putting the pressure on the Lakers to make sure he gets minutes and his confidence is through the roof right now. I guess staying in school did him some good.
Mike Predictions (30 – 52) (13th in the West)
- Julius Randle traded – The Lakers have a lot of assets currently. But they also have a lot of duplication. They currently have 4 or 5 guys that are going to be expecting minutes in the post and something is going to have to give. I feel like Randle, though he slimmed down, is not best suited for the offense the Lakers are going to try to run but is talented enough for the Lakers to get some value for him. I look for someone to make a move for him by Christmas.
- Brandon Ingram Doubles his PPG – There were 5 players who averaged 10 or more shot attempts per game for the Lakers last year. 4 are no longer on the roster and the other (Clarkson) has been moved to the bench. With Lonzo running the point the Lakers should be flying up and down the court and that’s going to translate to a lot of attempts for Ingram who is likely tired of hearing about Ball and Kuzma. He only attempted 8 shots per game last year and I expect that number to jump to 14 or so and his FT attempts to jump to at least 6 (from 3). This should put him in the running for most improved player but time will tell.
Josh Predictions (26-56) (13th in the West)
- Lonzo Ball wins Rookie of the Year – I’m only the one millionth person to predict this, but I think Lonzo Ball’s style of play, insane hype, and handful of games where he makes spectacular plays will let him win the ROY this season. Obviously at 26 wins, I’m not expecting him to make the Lakers great this year, but I think he’s going to change the culture in basketball and make passing cool again. The pressure will be insane. The media hype will be insane. And I think his successes will be praised probably more-so than other rookies. That will all lead up to him beating out other rookies on better teams for the ROY trophy.
- Forget PG13, Lakers land KD in the offseason – Two years ago, I predicted Kevin Durant would leave OKC and go to LA. Then he went to Golden State to play with 3 All Stars and the winningest team in NBA history. After he wins (what I assume will be) his 2nd straight title and finals MVP, I think Durant will bolt from the Warriors and go to the young and exciting Lakers team where he can try to be “the man”… or at the very least, team up with Lebron for a few years.