After decades of success with multiple superstars leading the way, the Los Angeles Lakers are no longer a perennial title contender in the Western Conference. Not only have they failed to break into the title contender conversation over the last few years, but the storied franchise has also missed the NBA playoffs three years running and appear to be on the verge of missing the postseason for a fourth straight year.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won five NBA titles with the Lakers, was recently asked whether he thinks the Lakers can become a great team once again. Jabbar said the following about what the Lakers need to do to return to greatness, via Maria Karvouni of Sportkeeda:
The Lakers have the good fortune to have a historical legacy of greatness, which is an advantage in attracting players. Right now, they need to warehouse assets and wheel and deal until they get the right combination of players.
Kareem goes on to talk about the lengthy process of rebuilding even though the Lakers currently have some talented young players. The six-time NBA champion talks about how his Lakers squad lucked out by getting Magic Johnson, via Karvouni:
They already have some impressive young talents, but building the right balance of teammates can be a long process until you get lucky. We got lucky when we traded the excellent Gail Goodrich to New Orleans Jazz for a first-round draft pick who turned out to be Magic Johnson.
With the Lakers already racking up 30 losses this season, it could be another year in which the team is bound for the NBA Draft Lottery. Los Angeles has been fortunate enough to land Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Ivica Zubac in the draft over the last few years, but it remains to be seen whether any of these players can be the next face of the franchise in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
Fortunately, the team seems to have the right coach in place with Luke Walton and players with the potential to build around. The timetable for success is uncertain even though the team has shown signs of progress being made in the current rebuilding process this season.