The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in rebuilding mode, stocking their roster with young talent and preserving cap space so that they can chase superstars next summer.
That said, there are still plenty of games to play this season, and while rebuilding teams don’t win many games, this Lakers roster has improved with the additions of Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Most of the attention recently has gone to rookie sensation Lonzo Ball, but veteran additions Caldwell-Pope and Lopez should both slot into the starting lineup for Los Angeles and make a major impact.
Caldwell-Pope’s arrival was particularly surprising, as a series of events caused the Detroit Pistons to rescind his qualifying offer and allow him to become a free agent. Caldwell-Pope is on a one-year deal with the Lakers, and recently appeared on Uninterrupted’s Open Run podcast to discuss the possibility of his new team making the playoffs:
I think everybody this summer has gotten better we just gotta bring that chemistry and bring it together. We just wanna take it one step at a time, one game at a time before we even think about talking about the playoffs. I mean that’s a goal. We want to make the playoffs but we wanna take it one game at a time to get to that.
Caldwell-Pope probably made the right move here by downplaying the notion that the Lakers will make the playoffs. With a team full of young players, there will be a learning curve plenty of mistakes, and the Western Conference is unforgiving.
Still, these Lakers, on paper at least, should be more competitive than the teams we have seen over the last few years. Caldwell-Pope will provide much-needed perimeter defense, while Lopez and Ball will keep the court spread wide open on the offensive end.
Additionally, with players like Lopez, Caldwell-Pope, Julius Randle, and others on expiring contracts, there will be some extra motivation to perform well.