The Los Angeles Lakers have an interesting season ahead of them as no one is quite sure what to make of them. There is a ton of intriguing young talent led by Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, but there also some talented veterans on the roster as well.
While many would immediately point to Brook Lopez when speaking on veterans, Luol Deng is also someone who hopes to make an impact this season. Ingram has undoubtedly taken over as the starter at small forward, but Deng could have the chance to play a big role off the bench.
With such a promising roster, some have wondered if the Lakers could challenge for a playoff spot this season. In an interview with James Walters of the Daily Star, Deng stopped short of proclaiming the Lakers a playoff team:
“We’ll start with training camp and see what type of team we have, then we’ll set our goals from there,” Deng added. “We’ve got a lot of new guys but we also lost a few players so we’re looking forward to it.”
Deng would later note that the playoffs are the main goal for the Lakers this season however:
“[The play-offs are] always the main goal. If you get yourselves to the play-offs, you always have a chance […]I’m looking forward to this year. Last year was last year. I’m exited to see what this season brings.”
Whether the Lakers can contend for the playoffs in a very deep Western Conference remains to be seen. It is very possible that the Lakers could be a much improved team from a season ago, and still not come close to making the playoffs.
For Deng, this season is a very interesting one as there is no secret that the Lakers would like to get out from his contract in order to create salary cap space for two max free agents next summer. As it stands, he will be on the roster this season so he will look to have a much better showing than he had last year.