The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling once again this season. Even though they have already surpassed last year’s win total, they are still near the bottom of the league with an 18-37 record.
The recent hire of Magic Johnson as an advisor has definitely turned some heads as many believe it could spell the end for Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, who promised to turn the Lakers into contenders by this year or he would step down. Johnson’s comments about wanting to ‘call the shots’ for the franchise only adds more fuel to that fire.
The Lakers are obviously far away from contention and Johnson told Josh Peter of USA Today Sports that he believes it will take a couple more years before the Lakers are contending in the Western Conference:
Johnson, who spoke while at Pauley Pavilion for the UCLA-Oregon men’s basketball game, said it will take two to three years to rebuild the Lakers into one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
“It’s going to take time and we know that,’’ said Johnson, the Hall-of-Famer who played for the Lakers from 1979-91 and played 32 games during the 1995-96 season. “I’m not going to fool nobody and I don’t want the fan base to think, ‘Oh, I’m back, so it’s going to turn around tomorrow.’ It doesn’t work like that.”
This is probably not what Lakers fans want to hear, but it is a pretty accurate timeline for a team rebuilding through the draft like this franchise is. This doesn’t mean that they couldn’t progress into a playoff team sooner, but competing with the likes of the Warriors and Spurs will take some time.
There is always the chance that that Lakers could pull off a huge deal for a superstar and speed up that process, but that is always easier said than done. As it stands, the Lakers will rely on the development of Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the young core.
Coincidentally, Johnson made these comments while courtside checking out one of the top prospects in the upcoming NBA Draft, and someone that many would love to see in purple and gold, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball.