The Los Angeles Lakers have endured a playoff drought that has now hit four straight seasons, leaving many wondering when the team will return to the top of the NBA mountain.
The silver lining to all the losing has been the arrival of a number of young talents in the draft, such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr.
However, just because the Lakers are a young, rebuilding team, that doesn’t mean that they don’t still aspire to making a playoff run. Nance recently appeared on the Hoops Hype podcast with Alex Kennedy and discussed the possibility that Los Angeles could make the playoffs next season:
“It’s become a very realistic possibility. Now obviously, it’s still summertime, so we haven’t even gotten together to talk about any expectations or anything like that. But personally, yes, I want to make the playoffs. I want to better myself as a player in every single statistic. Improvements need to be made, and like we should all do, I’m starting with myself. Then when we get to the season that’s when we will focus on team and all that. Right now, I’m looking forward to playing later than we did this year.”
Of course, right now, every team in the league has the same record, so optimism isn’t in short supply. Still, one can’t blame Nance for envisioning a playoff run.
The Lakers may be young, but the hope is that the arrival of Ball, an offensive wizard who keeps the ball moving, will lead to a big improvement next season.
Additionally, while losing D’Angelo Russell via trade certainly hurts long-term, the arrival of Brook Lopez should make the team better in the here-and-now. Head coach Luke Walton has his work cut out for him, and a playoff run may be unlikely, but they shouldn’t be written off, either.