After losing six straight games and 15 of their last 16, the Los Angeles Lakers head into the 2015 All-Star Break with very few positive vibes. Thanks to a subpar roster that has been decimated by injuries, the Lakers have stumbled to a 13-40 record and are on pace for the worst record in the history of the franchise.
With only 29 games left, the playoffs are not a possibility for this team. That does not mean that there aren’t plenty of things that the Lakers could do this season that could have a major impact on the future of the team.
The roster is full of young players who could use more experience. Players like Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black, Ed Davis and Ryan Kelly could all use this final part of the season to prove that they can be a part of the Lakers’ future.
There is also the impending trade deadline and the possibility that the Lakers could add a solid young player, like they did with Kent Bazemore last season, or future draft picks that could speed up the rebuild. While it may not be pretty, these final months could unearth some important things that need to be known about the Lakers present and future.
So we asked our panel of experts what they are looking for from the Lakers post-All Star Break. This is what they had to say:
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): The Lakers won’t be winning many more games this season, but I will definitely be looking closely at how competitive this team is down the stretch.
Last season it looked as if Mike D’Antoni had lost the team down the stretch. The Lakers were consistently getting blown out and games weren’t even making it to halftime before the outcome was decided. For the most part that hasn’t been the case this season as usually the Lakers hang around for a half or three quarters before succumbing to superior talent down the stretch.
Byron Scott has come under a lot of criticism this season and much of it has been warranted. His rotations leave a lot to be desired and he admittedly overplayed Kobe Bryant early in the season. The offense has been bad and the defense has been worse, but it would be unfair to put all of that on Scott as this roster simply isn’t good enough.
The effort of the Lakers, however, must not fall if Scott intends to stick around and lead this team to success when things improve. Scott must show he can keep the Lakers on point mentally or belief in him will waver even more than it already has.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): More rookie development. If the Lakers are going to continue losing, and all signs point that being the case, the development of Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black are crucial in my opinion.
Both rookies will have the opportunity to get a considerable amount of time on the floor the rest of the way. This should give head coach Byron Scott ample time to get a feel for what he’s got with both players next season.
The Lakers will likely have a decent amount of draft picks in the 2015 NBA draft. Los Angeles acquired a first-round pick in the Jeremy Lin trade and appear to be holding on to their top-five pick if the team can stay in the bottom five of the league standings.
Outside of the rookie development, I can’t see much to look forward to after the All-Star break.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): I’m looking forward to seeing Jordan Clarkson develop and ultimately to the draft.
Clarkson has shown flashes of brilliance and he’s surely out-performing his draft position. Without reservation I’d say that Clarkson is playing better than similar players who went in the lottery like Dante Exum and Nik Stauskas. The Lakers clearly got a bargain by drafting Clarkson in the 2nd round. His development will be key to the future of the Lakers franchise.
With the way things are going it seems the Lakers are destined to finish with one of the five worst records in the NBA. That would mean that they would have a very good chance of keeping their first rounder which is top-five protected. This years draft may not be as deep as previous years, but the Lakers best chance of rebuilding post-Kobe will be through drafting smartly and developing young players.
Next year it will be exciting to see a healthy Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and a to-be-determined rookie playing for the Lakers.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): The All-Star break is a time where players can relax and give back to the fans. Many teams use this time to regroup to finish the season off well. Unfortunately for the Lakers, there is no hope for them even after the All-Star break. Still, I believe that there is a silver lining that can be had for Lakers Nation.
I am looking forward to the Lakers making a trade with Ed Davis and/or Jordan Hill for future draft picks.
While, I believe that both players are solid bigs, the team desperately needs to rebuild. Ed Davis, will likely opt out this season to get more more money in a new contract, while Jordan Hill has a team option at the end of the year. The Lakers need to think about the long term future and focus on attaining young talented players.
They are talented enough to garner some interest from other teams, however they’re just decent, and are by no means exceptional. They are not worth keeping if it means the ability to acquire more draft picks. These future picks would go along with the young talent we already have in Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and our top-five protected first round draft pick acquired from Phoenix. This could be an excellent way to initiate a time of growth that could potentially result in a high level of basketball.[divide]