UA-59049186-1 NBA Team Preview: Los Angles Lakers - Good if it Goes

NBA Team Preview: Los Angles Lakers


Draft Picks: 2. SF. Brandon Ingram, 32. C. Ivica Zubac

Key Acquisitions: SF. Luol Deng, C. Timofey Mozgov

Key Losses: SG. Kobe Bryant, C. Roy Hibbert

Player Profiles

Projected Lineup

PG. D’Angelo Russell: 6’5, 195

  • Huge PG that is an average athlete for the position, but size makes up for it.
  • Has the ability to score and distribute for others. Expect him to be even better passing in year 2.
  • Will never be a great defender, but has the physical traits to improve on a not so good rookie year on that end.

SG. Jordan Clarkson: 6’5, 194

  • Skinny combo guard who is more of a scorer than playmaker.
  • Decent scorer that can handle the rock and shoot the ball.
  • Not a good defensive player, but has some tools to play better

SF. Brandon Ingram: 6’9, 190

  • Incredibly long and lanky wing with 2-way star potential.
  • Can handle, shoot, score on or off the ball, and finish at the basket.
  • Has the tools to be a good defender and was in college, but his lack of strength could be an issue in the NBA early in his career.

PF. Luol Deng: 6’9, 220

  • Hardworking, blue collar forward who has transitioned to a combo forward that can play small ball 4.
  • Contributes best offensively off the ball as a spot up shooter or slasher at this point in his career.
  • Once very good defender who has lost a step but still a good contributor on that end who gets it done with great effort and a high basketball IQ.

C. Timofey Mozgov: 7’1, 275

  • Huge brute of a center who plays with an old school mentality.
  • Tough player that defends the interior and crashes the boards.
  • Can contribute offensively as a roll man and finisher. Has a jump hook game as well.



SG. Louis Williams: 6’1, 175

  • Shoot-first combo guard that’s best utilized as an offensive spark off the bench.
  • Capable of creating his own offense and putting up points.
  • Just physically unequipped to be much of a deterrent defensively at the 2.

PF. Julius Randle: 6’9, 250

  • Undersized but strong throwback PF that bangs and is an elite rebounder.
  • Offensive game is a work in progress as Randle isn’t reliable as a mid-range shooter or back-to-basket player. Mostly contributes off hustle plays and as a dive man.
  • Lacks height, length, and athleticism to be a real difference maker on defense, but can hold his own on the interior due to his strength.

PF. Larry Nance Jr.: 6’9, 230

  • High-motor big perfect for the role of spark plug off the bench.
  • Impacts the game with hustle plays. Crashes the offensive glass, rolls hard, and plays smart.
  • Lacks the physical profile to be a rim protector or tough interior presence on defense but his effort doesn’t fade on that end of the floor.

SF. Nick Young: 6’7, 210

  • Offensive minded wing that has become one of the game’s most notorious gunners.
  • Decent handle for a 3 and has some ability to create his own shots playing with the 2nd unit but has horrible shot selection despite his ability to shoot and his range.
  • Has never played any defense and has no intention of starting.

PG. Jose Calderon: 6’3, 200

  • Declining PG nearing the end of his career. Appears to have lost 2 steps.
  • Has always had great passing ability and court vision and shoots the ball well.
  • Was never a good defender but now lacks the basic level of quickness and athleticism needed to play guard in the NBA.

C. Tarik Black: 6’9, 250

  • Crafty physical big body center with long arms that rebounds well.
  • Highly limited offensive big who can contribute as an effective finisher at the rim, crafty player. Effective contributor off the bench.
  • Highly active and effective interior defender

PF. Yi Jianlian: 7’0, 250

  • Chinese big man looking to start his 2nd stint in the NBA.
  • Finesse stretch big man who shot 47% from 3 in China.
  • Was thought to be too soft last time he was in the NBA and I doubt that has changed but he has the length to change and block some shots.

C. Ivica Zubac: 7’1, 240

  • Croatian rookie center with a nice physical profile for the position.
  • Considered to be a raw offensive prospect. Capable finisher at the rim but can’t do much outside of 5 ft.
  • Good interior defender but struggles away from the paint, especially in PnR situations.

PF. Anthony Brown: 6’7, 210

  • Didn’t appear to be an NBA caliber player in his rookie year
  • Despite being a good shooter in college it didn’t translate to the NBA. Was unable to do very much of anything offensively.
  • Probably belongs in the D-League

PG. Marcelo Huertas: 6’3, 200

  • 33 year old 2nd year PG from Spain who struggled to adjust to the NBA game in his rookie season.
  • Horrible outside shooter which combined with his lack of athleticism makes it nearly impossible for him to have any positive impact when defenders play off him.
  • Brings some effort on defense and can be a little scrappy but often looked lost and unequipped to defend on the perimeter in the NBA.



The Lakers look to start a new era without their franchise legend Kobe Bryant as he finally decided to end his Hall of Fame career and retire after last season. It’s been essentially 2 decades since the Lakers started a season with the Mamba on the roster and now look to begin a youth movement that centers around a few high lottery picks. The team selected Ingram from Duke with the 2nd overall pick, who has drawn a lot of comparisons to Kevin Durant during the draft process. He’s the guy that Laker nation is hoping can usher in a new era and replace Kobe as the face of this franchise. However, if you put any stock into summer league, then you have to be excited about 2nd-year PG Russell, whom the Lakers picked 3rd overall in the 2015 draft. He lit it up over the summer and his play down the stretch dramatically improved after a slow start to his rookie year. And then there’s Julius Randle, who the team took with their 7th overall pick in 2014. Reports are that he has improved his shooting dramatically, which if he has, should give him an opportunity to earn a starting spot.

How their new head coach Luke Walton will run his rotation and more importantly his starting lineup is 1 of the bigger mysteries of any team right now. My projection above is nothing more than a mere guess at this point. With his small ball background in GS and the new addition of free agent Luol Deng, who played small ball 4 for the Heat once Bosh went down with good results, that lineup just seems to make the most sense. It’s rare you see a player with Ingram’s pre-draft hype and profile not start and it’s also hard for me to believe that Deng wouldn’t start. But there are those that believe the Lakers will start Russell, Clarkson, Deng, Randle, and Mozgov and just bring Ingram off the bench to ease him along. Maybe if this were the Utah Jazz or some other small market team I could see that. But we’re talking about the league’s premiere franchise and 2nd largest market in the country. They need to have Ingram in that starting lineup, even if he struggles (and he will). 3rd year guard Jordan Clarkson will be another key player for the Lakers not only this season but moving forward. They need him to continue to be a significant offensive contributor but they also need him to play some defense. An underrated part of this Lakers team has to be their bench. They’ve got some bigs in Nance Jr and Black who are both high energy role players that come in and so some positive things. And of course guys like Williams and Nick “Swaggy P” Young can be instant offense when they’re on. And then there’s Calderon who isn’t much of a player anymore but his veteran presence and feel for the game should be great for both Russell and Clarkson to be around and learn from.



The Lakers aren’t a team devoid of talent, they’re just really young and have a lot of unfinished products on their roster. With so many players trying to find themselves and get better, you can expect some flashes, but ultimately the Lakers are going to be right back in the lottery again next year. But winning a bunch of games and making the playoffs isn’t what 2016-17 is about for the Lakers. It’s about developing their young talented core and having those players develop good habits from some quality veteran players like Deng, Mozgov, and Calderon. I expect the Lakers to be near the bottom of the standings when the season ends, but if they can show some improvement from last year and Russell and Ingram flash glimpses of a bright future, this season will have been a successful stepping stone to better days to come for this storied franchise.

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