The Los Angeles Lakers revamped their roster after the disappointing end to the 2016-17 campaign, with a better understanding of their outlook and how they want to progress. With Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope joining Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers possess a formidable starting lineup that can adhere to the up-tempo pace of the NBA.
With a relatively young roster overall, Lopez is in quite a different situation from previous seasons. It wasn’t that long ago when he was the youngest player in a starting lineup that featured Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, a gamble that somewhat backfired on the Brooklyn Nets franchise.
The outlook now is quite different for Lopez, entering his 10th season. He (29) now resides as one of the elder statesmen on the roster, only younger than Corey Brewer (31), Andrew Bogut (32), and Luol Deng (32). With a veteran outlook and now in the prime of his career, Lopez truly appreciates how Walton has trusted him to become one of the leaders on this young Lakers roster, via Bill Oram of the O.C. Register:
“It’s just cool being around him,” Lopez said. “I feel like he’s put a lot of trust in me in terms of being a vet on the team and going out there and being a leader and I think it’s an honor, I take a lot of pride in taking that responsibility that he’s given me.”
The outlook for Lopez, and the franchise, is quite different compared to previous years. While the Nets continue to dwell on their options in the lottery sweepstakes, the Lakers enter the 2017-18 campaign ready to find their way into playoff contention, trending in the right direction as a part of their rebuild.
While all sights are set on the 2018 free agency class, this upcoming season provides these players a chance to mature, grow, and develop into the players the franchise has envisioned. Lopez will be a key figure in that process, whether by providing wisdom to his playings or demonstrating first-hand on the court.
Lopez has truly relished his time thus far with the Lakers, as he grew up idolizing Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. With one season remaining on the previous maximum extension he signed, Lopez has a chance to flourish alongside the likes of Ball and Ingram, as a bonafide scorer and intelligent player.