No one is quite sure what to expect from the Los Angeles Lakers this upcoming season. The team brought in some solid veterans to go along with some very talented young players, but after 21 wins last season, the pressure is on for the Lakers to begin turning things around.
It will be an extremely tough task for the Lakers to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, but Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times that his barometer of success for this season is the Lakers finding eight core players by the end of the year:
To me, the barometer of success at the end of next year … is if we have eight core players that are going to be Lakers for the next five years. “It’s not a number of wins. It’s not if we make the playoffs. It’s not how far we go in the playoffs,” he said about the upcoming season. “It matters that we have core players, and that these guys are our future.”
There is no doubt that the Lakers view Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jordan Clarkson as core players for the Lakers future. If they play well this season, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, and Brandon Bass could all wind up being long-term players for the franchise as well.
The Lakers also have a plethora of young players such as second-year guys Tarik Black and Jabari Brown as well as rookies Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown. Kobe Bryant of course isn’t a part of the Lakers five-year plan as even next year is a question mark, but the Lakers seem ready to move on to life without him and have a great opportunity to build their roster.[divide]