The Los Angeles Lakers may be coming off of the worst season in franchise history, but there is still plenty to be optimistic about. Over the past few seasons, they have managed to acquire a plethora of young talent across every position on the floor, giving them the opportunity to organically grow the future of the team.
They still have an extremely long and treacherous road ahead of them, but the coming years are certainly looking brighter than ever. There isn’t a single player on the Lakers roster who screams “superstar” just yet, as all of them have holes in their game that need serious work, but according to an interview head coach Luke Walton had with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, it appears as though the entire young core has put on their hard hats and gotten down to business:
Walton also praised ongoing efforts from Randle and Larry Nance Jr. in developing their jump shots. Walton expressed optimism for Jordan Clarkson to become an elite defender. And Walton reported other positive developments: second-year forward Anthony Brown has often won 3-point shooting contests in practice; rookie center Ivica Zubac has developed a skyhook; veteran forward Nick Young has lost about 20 pounds; veteran guard Lou Williams has demonstrated a playmaking presence.
That paragraph is simply music to a Lakers fans’ ears. Walton spoke previously about D’Angelo Russell working on becoming the team’s leader, and we know that Brandon Ingram is doing everything he can to put on weight, but this paragraph is proof positive that they aren’t the only ones putting in work.
It’s well-known that Julius Randle is a jump shot away from making the leap to being a very good player in this league, and if Larry Nance Jr. can improve his accuracy from deep that will only make him even more of a weapon. Clarkson already greatly improved his three-point shooting last season but struggled defensively; if he can get stronger in that area he could be in for a breakout season this year.
Anthony Brown’s ultimate success or failure in the NBA will almost certainly come down to his ability to consistently hit the three, so it’s great to hear that he is finally showing the touch that he did in college. Lou Williams struggled as a playmaker last season, and Nick Young appeared to be on his way towards being waived so that fact that both veterans are already hard at work is excellent news.
And then there is Ivica Zubac bringing back Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s sky hook… well, he certainly knows the way to the hearts of Lakers fans. The 2016-17 NBA season can’t start soon enough.