The Los Angeles Lakers went into the NBA off-season still licking their wounds from the worst campaign in team history. Injuries, a lack of talent, questionable on-court schemes, and more injuries had made the 2014-15 season a gauntlet of misery. Still, the off-season brought with it a modicum of hope, as it tends to do. After all, anything can happen when every team in the league has their record reset to 0-0. It wouldn’t be easy, but the next step in the rebuilding process was about to unfold.
Their massive, nervous fan base understood what they were up against in the brutal Western Conference, but still, this is the Lakers. The purple and gold have always found a way to get it done, and the off-season was to be the beginning of their rebirth.
The summer got off to a magical start when fortune smiled on the Lakers and they not only retained their top-five protected draft pick, but saw that pick move up from fourth overall to second. The jump was not only a stroke of good luck (something that has eluded Los Angeles in recent years), but also a balm, something to ease the pain of such a disastrous season.
The Lakers off-season war chest also featured the 27th and 34th picks, as well as a solid chunk of cap space to toss around in free agency. With hope restored, GM Mitch Kupchak put on his hard hat and set out to give Lakers fans a team that they could once again be proud of.
The results were mixed, but next season’s Lakers squad will look very different than the team we watched limp to the finish line in April. Now that the dust has settled and the NBA has all but entered hibernation, it’s time to break out the red pen and grade one of the most important off-seasons in Lakers history.
BEGIN SLIDESHOW: Grading Lakers’ 2015 NBA Draft