26, 17, 21, and 27. Those are the number of wins the Lakers have accumulated in each of the last four seasons. For perspective, if you include the Minneapolis days, the franchise has played 69 seasons and only had two seasons with less than 30 wins. If you up the bar to 40 wins, there were only 12 seasons, and that includes the two aforementioned seasons and the lockout-shortened season of 1998. But fear not Lakers fans. Things look to be headed in the right direction with Luke Walton as head coach, Rob Pelinka as general manager, and Lonzo Ball the new face of the franchise. Just wait until Lebron James and Paul George join the squad next season!
2016 record: 26-56
- Lonzo Ball via draft
- Josh Hart via draft
- Thomas Bryant via draft
- Kyle Kuzma via draft
- Brook Lopez via trade
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope via free agency
- Andrew Bogut via free agency
- Nick Young via free agency
- Metta World Peace via free agency
- Thomas Robinson via free agency
- Tarik Black via free agency
- David Nwaba via free agency
This team is going to be super fun to watch. They played at the sixth-fastest pace last season and will probably end up higher this year. There’s going to be tons of movement and spacing, so it’s going to be an ideal situation for fantasy. In addition, the defense is going to be putrid. Hence, the wins will probably not be plentiful. With that said, Ball totally revitalized a UCLA squad and made them instant contenders. There’s a ton of young talent on this team. Now, I’m not saying the Lakers will be contenders with Ball. The West is too stacked, but it’s within the range of outcomes that he gets the team to mid-to-high 30 wins.
PG – Ball is the leader of this team. Mark Jackson is the only rookie to average over 10 dimes a game. Ball has a chance to become the second. His IQ and passing are on a different level and he’s going to push the pace and give his teammates cheapies in transition. The turnovers may be high and there are concerns about his J and slashing ability. With that said, he’s going to get a ton of minutes and be a triple-double threat every night he plays. Tyler Ennis is currently the backup. There was talk that the Lakers would bring in a vet to mentor Ball, but here we are. That shows confidence in Ennis, but I think it speaks more about the faith they have in Ball. Anyways, Ennis is a more than capable backup. He shot 39% from three-land last season and, Per 36, dished out five dimes and pilfered 1.7 a game. He probably won’t get too many minutes, especially since Jordan Clarkson can also play some point, but keep him on the radar if he does fall into some more minutes.
SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the starter and should fit in so well with what this team wants to do. While his three-point shooting isn’t spectacular (35% last season), he plays good defense and thrives in transition. He’s averaged around 1.2 steals per game in Detroit, but with how fast the Lakers are going to play, that number could see a dramatic spike up. He is suspended for the first two games of the season, though. Jordan Clarkson is the backup and should be a vital cog for this team. He can fill the “microwave-role” to provide instant offense, but can also handle some point guard duties. He shot 33% from three-land last season, but he’s more of a mid-range, slashing kind of scorer. He will get you a steal per game, but doesn’t contribute much in rebounds and assists.
SF – Brandon Ingram is the starter. I love, love, love, loooooooooove Ingram this season. It was reported that he grew two inches this offseason, which would put him at 6′ 11″ now. He’s only 20 years old! Anyways, what I saw from him in the Summer League got me super excited. He was much more assertive/physical and was able to get his shot up against everyone. The J looked much improved, but it was the demeanor. During his rookie year, he looked lost and had the deer-in-the-headlights moment far too often. Not anymore. Ok, it was only Summer League so I get it, but I do believe it translates into his second year. Luol Deng and Corey Brewer are behind Ingram. Why? I don’t know. What’s even more of a mystery is that Deng has three years left on his contract at $18 million per year!!! Lebron makes $35 million per year. System malfunction. Failing to compute. Anyways, both Deng and Brewer stink so, if you need them for fantasy, it’s probably time to start researching for next year’s baseball season.
PF – Julius Randle is another player I love, love, looooooooooove. He doesn’t shoot threes too often or well, but he can score, rebound, and dish out some dimes. Randle was seventh in triple-dubs last season with three. It was reported that he lost 15 pounds in the offseason…BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!! With Ball orchestrating the offense and Randle able to play multiple positions, he should get over 30 mpg and feast. Larry Nance and Kyle Kuzma are very interesting to me. Per 36, Nance put up 11.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.4 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block. He also shot 74% from the charity stripe. He’s not just a highlight dunking machine. The dude can ball. I believe that he gets plenty of run at the 4 and 5 positions. There are going to be a ton of highlights with Ball to Nance in transition. Kuzma straight up balled out in the Summer League and was named the MVP of the Championship game. He shot 51.4% from the field and drained 24-of-50 threes. Now, he’s a rookie so there’s going to be a transition period. In addition, he’s buried on the depth chart, but there’s a good chance he could get plenty of minutes at small forward. As I mentioned, Deng and Brewer suck. He probably won’t get enough minutes to be relevant in redraft leagues, but he’ll have his moments and is an asset in dynasty leagues.
C – The Lakers have a glut of centers. Brook Lopez is slated to start and should soak up most of the minutes. He shot 34% from three-land last season, so he’s ideal for the space-and-pace philosophy. He will get around 1.7 blocks, which is nice, but doesn’t really contribute much in the other categories. 5.4 rebounds for a big man??!! When he entered the league, he was grabbing over eight a game. Business decision. Ivica Zubac, Andrew Bogut, and Thomas Bryant are all behind Lopez. I like Zubac. He’s very skilled offensively. Defensively? He cannot guard on the perimeter and gets toasted in PnR. He just does not seem like a fit for what the Lakers want to do. I do believe that Nance gets plenty of run at the 5. I get the Bogut signing. Luke Walton is intimately familiar with him and he brings toughness and is a good off-ball screener. With that said, the guy cannot stay healthy at this stage of his career. Thomas Bryant played well in Summer League. He was high-energy, set devastating picks, ran in transition, and did work on the glass. With that said, he’s a rookie and minutes will be tough to come by. I do think he’s a better fit that Zubac.