One of the reasons there is so much positivity surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers despite another losing season is because of the performance of the team’s young players. Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart all showed signs of being excellent players in the near future.
Randle was likely the team’s MVP this season as he had the best year of his career. Ingram took the biggest leap of anyone. Kuzma proved to be another draft steal for the Lakers.
Ball struggled to score, but was excellent in every other facet of the game. Hart was an outstanding defender and showed the ability to be an above-average scorer down the stretch of the season.
Needless to say the Lakers and their young core have caught the eye of the rest of the NBA. In particular with one executive who believes all five of their young players could be part of a positive environment and culture, via Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus:
“Ingram took a huge leap,” a Western Conference executive said. “[They have] five young players who look like they could be part of a winning culture.”
The big question for the future of this core is obviously in regards to Randle and whether he will return. He is a restricted free agent this summer and how the Lakers fare with star free agents like LeBron James and Paul George will play a huge role in whether the team can re-sign Randle.
Randle has said he loves it in Los Angeles and wants to return so time will tell whether that will ultimately come to fruition. It is also a testament to Hart’s performance down the stretch of the season that he is legitimately being considered part of the Lakers’ core after being overlooked for much of the season.
With or without Randle, the Lakers are in a great place for the future, having the ability to improve through both free agency and the draft where they will have the 25th and 47th overall picks.
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