…o, let’s add everything up. While the Lakers have tons of available salary cap space, they lack (1) a proven roster, or at least a burgeoning superstar akin to Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, (2) a proven head coach, or at least a near certain future great head coach akin to the Celtics’ B…
“Proven” is a misleading word, as it allows one to ignore potential and the jump young players can make with enough work and proper coaching.
Most people thought Ingram was a bust in his rookie year. He came back a lot stronger, learned how to take contact when finishing at the rim and became a much better player.
Randle struggled for the first few games coming off the bench, accepted his role as a small ball reserve center and started playing so well he regained his starting position. When he played at least 30 minutes in a game, he put up All-Star numbers.
Kuzma was the #4 rookie of the year, but if you look at his performances in big games, he was just as good an offensive player as Mitchell. The only difference is Utah had Gobert playing like a DPOY, and Rubio having the best year of his career.
With regard to Lonzo, everyone is going to have their own opinion because we don’t know if he’ll ever become a consistently good shooter. What already know is he is a top 10 guard in almost every category besides shooting. If he can get stronger and learn to take contact while finishing at the rim, he will be just as good as Ben Simmons (who still can’t make a shot outside of the paint).
Josh Hart played solid minutes as a back up and fill in starter, shooting 39% from beyond the arc along with good defense and great rebounding.
Overall, the team showed the promise of being one All-Star short of a playoff team. When you see how well Lebron played with the current Cavs roster, I believe he could do even better with the Lakers. While he wouldn’t be able to beat the Warriors next year, the team would be competitive with just about everyone else.
With regard to Walton as a coach, he got the team to embrace the Warriors’ style, stressing defense, sharing the ball and running the floor. They looked like a completely different team starting in 2018 and accomplished some huge goals including:
- Jumped from 30th to 12th on defense
- Jumped from 24th to 7th in assists
- Became the #1 team in transition frequency and fast break points
I guess it all comes down to perspective. I’m getting my shades ready.