For the fourth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers will finish with a losing record and miss the playoffs, something that has never happened in the history of the franchise. There does seem to be something to build around with this team however, as the Lakers have a ton of promising young talent.
Lottery picks D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle all have a ton of potential. Additionally Ivica Zubac, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. have all shown signs of being building blocks for the franchise as well.
Unfortunately, youth doesn’t often lead to wins in this league and the young players have a lot of room to grow. At the introductory press conference for new general manager Rob Pelinka, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson made it clear that the young core must get more consistent via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
Magic on young core: "All of them has to get more consistent. Everyone of them across the board."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 10, 2017
Consistency has been an issue for the Lakers all season long. As Magic pointed out, Thursday’s showing against the Suns is an excellent example of how they should play every night. There was plenty of ball movement, everyone got involved, and there was a lot of communication on both ends of the floor.
The question is whether they can continue that level of play both individually and as a team. Russell in particular, has really stepped up since the All-Star break, averaging over 21 points and five assists while shooting almost 47 percent from the field and over 39 percent from three-point range. Clarkson and Randle have each had their moments as well.
It’s not only Magic, but also Pelinka who plans on holding these young players accountable for their development and performance on the court. The talent is there, but the consistency is what separates the greats from the simply good players.