After suffering the worst win percentage in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers had high hopes of taking the next step in the rebuilding process. With their three picks at the NBA Draft, the Lakers selected D’Angelo Russell (2nd), Larry Nance Jr. (27th) and Anthony Brown (34th). While LaMarcus Aldridge was the target in free agency, the Lakers ended up with Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass in free agency.
Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, much of the focus will be on Kobe Bryant. While Kobe has not made a decision on retirement, he will be entering the final year of his contract at age 37. In a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Kobe discussed the team’s draft and free agency:
Q: What do you think about the state of the Lakers right now?
Kobe: “They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.
“How quickly can we get going? How quickly can we bring up [rookie D’Angelo] Russell, [Julius] Randle. [Jordan] Clarkson got valuable experience last year in playing that will benefit us tremendously. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to running with these young guns.”
While the Lakers have a young core of Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, there were high expectations of landing an All-Star free agent. Although the franchise could not land one, general manager Mitch Kupchak and company rebounded nicely by trading for Hibbert and signing Williams and Bass.
Heading into the new season, the basketball world would like to see the five-time champion stay relatively healthy after three season-ending injuries. While the playoffs are one of the goals for this team, it will be an uphill battle in the extremely competitive Western Conference.[divide]