The Los Angeles Lakers went into this summer with big dreams. Unfortunately for the team, they were unable to land the next superstar they were hoping for.
Once it became obvious they wouldn’t get Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, the team immediately shifted into their backup plan.
That plan was a mix of bringing back some of the better players from last season like Nick Young and Jordan Hill, bringing in some new guys like Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer, and drafting two guys full of potential in Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
All in all, the summer wasn’t what fans hoped for, but the team does seem to have taken steps towards improving the team, and have maintained cap flexibility for the upcoming summers.
Some of these moves have been met with great joy while others didn’t appeal to the fan base quite as much. Although with this many moves, it is impossible for every single one to appease everybody.
With that being said, we asked our panel of experts to give us their favorite and least favorite moves the Lakers have made this off-season. This is what they had to say:
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): My favorite move so far was the easiest one the Lakers had to make, which was drafting Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick.
Randle was the best player available after the previous six selections were made, and the Lakers made the right choice in picking up the big man. Randle is as NBA-ready as any draft pick, and will hopefully be a bright spot for the Lakers next season.
My least favorite move was letting Pau Gasol go. The Lakers made a run at him, but didn’t convince him enough to stay in favor of leaving for Chicago.
Maybe it was time, but it just won’t feel the same without Pau, and I’m not sure if management did all they could have done do sway Pau into staying.
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): I have had mixed feelings over the way the Lakers have handled the off-season. For the longest time, I have felt the Lakers were never going to be serious title contenders, even with Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Pau Gasol leading them.
As such, I believed the goal of the upcoming season to be one that focuses on developing Julius Randle and giving him plenty of opportunity to adjust to the NBA. As a result, I have come to dislike getting Carlos Boozer.
When the Lakers were awarded the winning bid for Boozer, the immediate thought that came into my head was that Randle’s minutes and chances were going to be limited. With Ed Davis joining the mix and Jordan Hill already in the front court, the Lakers have potentially four power forwards looking for playing time.
Of course, as the game has evolved, and the distinction between power forward and center has been blurred and some could see minutes at either position. Still, I feel the acquisition of Boozer puts limits on the growth that Randle could experience this year.
On the other hand, I love what the Lakers have done with the backcourt. Adding Jeremy Lin for basically nothing is money in my eyes. Sure, he isn’t the best or near the best point guard that the Lakers could’ve gone after, but he is still a nice, solid upgrade over what the team already had.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): It is hard to pick a favorite move the Lakers have made with all the moves that other teams have made basically overshadowing anything the Mitch Kupchak and company attempted to do so far this summer.
With that being said, I believe the best move was simply drafting Julius Randle out of Kentucky. There’s still no telling whether the decision to draft Randle will be a home run down the road, but I believe it was a step in the right direction.
Unfortunately for Randle, it may take a little longer for the rookie to make a considerable impact on this team with the Lakers bringing in Carlos Boozer. Randle will likely come off the bench next season with Boozer taking the starting role at power forward.
Another move that could pay off is acquiring Jeremy Lin. Although not considered a game-changer or a popular move, much like Boozer, Lin could come into his own alongside Kobe Bryant in the Lakers’ backcourt.
We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out, but one thing is for sure, no move made by the team this summer has guaranteed success for the Lakers in the near future.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): While I was concerned about the move to get Carlos Boozer originally, after further thought, it doesn’t bother me that much.
Boozer played less than 30 minutes per game last year and I doubt that he severely cuts into the minutes and development of Julius Randle. Furthermore, Randle can actually learn some decent moves and how to effectively use his strength from Boozer.
For me, the one move that bothers me to no end is the Lakers bringing back Wesley Johnson. I understand why they did it. He is still young, athletic, and the Lakers needed a small forward.
He just didn’t show me anything last season to make me believe he can be more than he is. A great athlete with flashes of defensive competency and inconsistent shooting. I would have much preferred the team to find another wing player.
On the other hand, I had been campaigning for the Lakers to sign Ed Davis since the beginning of free agency so I was ecstatic to find out they had brought him in.
He is young, big, long, athletic, and represents the Lakers’ best chance at a rim protector on this team. His per-36 numbers have been good throughout his career, but he has never had a chance to get consistent minutes.
If he is able to get those minutes with the Lakers, I have no doubt he will turn into a fan favorite immediately.
Lakers Waive Kendall Marshall, Sign Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson