It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to attract two max-level free agents next summer, with names like LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and DeMarcus Cousins potentially being available. With that in mind, they are working towards making their team a more attractive landing spot.
After missing the playoffs for four consecutive years, Magic Johnson has a plan in place to bring exciting basketball back to Los Angeles. He explained what he hopes to see in an appearance on ESPN’s First Take:
“Number one is pace of play. We have to be a running basketball team. If we’re able to run with Lonzo Ball at the point guard it’s going to be beautiful basketball to watch. Then we have to improve on our defense because we were near the bottom of the league on defense. That’s where (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) I think is really going to help us and I think also Brook Lopez will help us as well. Then, I want to see Jordan Clarkson go to another level. I want to see Julius Randle go to another level. They both have to go to another level.”
If Johnson’s plan sounds somewhat familiar, it should. The combination of stingy defense and a deadly fast-break is a recipe for Showtime, the playing style that Johnson and his Lakers teammates used in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. It’s fast, fun, and can attract plenty of positive attention for a team that historically has had no problems making headlines.
Johnson’s expectations for individual players also gives us a glimpse into what he is looking for from each of them. New Lakers Caldwell-Pope and Lopez will be asked to anchor the perimeter and back line defense, respectively, while Johnson also recognizes how badly the team needs Randle and Clarkson to reach their true potential.
It won’t be an easy task, but for the first time in a long time, it feels like things are looking up for the Lakers.