Los Angeles Lakers are without a doubt the most recognizable and storied franchise in the NBA.
The team is synonymous with success and fans in every generation have stories of dominant squads raising banner after banner. From the golden era of George Mikan, to the dynamic duo of Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, the ever-entertaining Showtime Lakers, and the undeniable dominance by Kobe and Shaq, the Lakers’ accomplishments are unmatched.
However, these past few seasons have been ones to forget as the franchise struggled to stay relevant and did not have a direction for the post-Kobe Bryant era. The Lakers were living in the bottom of the Western Conference and there seemed no light at the end of the tunnel.
Winning one championship requires a great deal of luck, so for a franchise that has 16; its fortunes have been favorable for quite some time. However, these recent years suggested that, perhaps, the Basketball Gods finally turned their backs on the Lakers.
The Lakers have had a string of bad luck in recent memory starting with the failed Chris Paul trade. That led to the resurrection of the cross-town rival Clippers and an unfamiliar back seat to them in Los Angeles.
The loss of Dr. Jerry Buss voided the Lakers of a leader and his impact on the franchise was irreplaceable. That same season saw Dwight Howard become the first star to willingly leave the team in free agency along with a devastating Achilles injury to Kobe Bryant.
Nothing was going right in Laker Land and Staples Center was hosting Clippers post-season games while the Lakers watched from home.
Things started to turn in the right direction when the team drafted a promising big man out of Kentucky by the name of Julius Randle. Randle shined for the Wildcats in their Final Four run and people saw him as the first piece to the rebuilding process in LA. However, when it seemed like there was something exciting brewing for the Lakers, Randle broke his leg in the season opener and was sidelined for the remaining 81 games.
The 2014-15 season became even more heart wrenching for the Lakers when their lone superstar torn his rotator cuff. With the Black Mamba joining Randle on the bench, there was little to no optimism for the Lakers.
For the first time ever, the Lakers looked like a lost organization.
Then came Draft night, 2015.