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There's More Than Lonzo In LA

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Notable Players Acquired: C Brook Lopez (trade), SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (free agency), PG Tyler Ennis (free agency), PG Lonzo Ball (draft), SG Josh Hart (draft), F Kyle Kuzma (draft)

Notable Players Lost: F Tarik Black (waived), G/F Nick Young (free agency), C Timofey Mozgov (trade), PG D’Angelo Russell (trade)

Recapping 2016-17

It was a weird year in Los Angeles. There was promising young talent like Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell, but that was mixed in with veterans like Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov who might not have fit the team’s identity.

The Lakers finished with a 26-56 record in Luke Walton’s first year at the helm, 14th in the Western Conference.

Positives from the season:

  • Julius Randle quietly almost averaged a double-double, scoring 13 points and hauling in 8.6 rebounds per game. He might not have the star potential Ingram or Lonzo Ball have, but he’s solid.
  • The team acquired assets and cashed in on Lou Williams’ solid season, getting Corey Brewer and a first-round pick from Houston at the trade deadline.

A few not-so-great things:

  • No. 2 pick Ingram played in 79 games, starting 40. That’s good. But he averaged just 9.4 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 29.4 percent from the 3-point line. He was only 19, so it’d be expected for him to take a jump in his second season.
  • The duo of Deng and Mozgov averaged a combined 15 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. The Lakers probably were expecting a bit more, and so were, too, Deng and Mozgov.

The Big Question

Will Ball prove to be the franchise-altering player the Lakers expect him to be? Most expect Ball, at the very least, to be a very solid ball distributor who should fit in seamlessly in his rookie season. But if he proves to be a point-guard type like Jason Kidd, Steve Nash or Chris Paul, playoff planning in Los Angeles will be accelerated.

Timberwolves Connections

Former Timberwolves fan-favorite Brewer is now a member of the Lakers. Brewer spent parts of six seasons with the Wolves, averaging 9.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. In 24 games with the Lakers last season, Brew averaged 5.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Ratke’s Projection

Playoffs will be tough considering how much the West improved and that the Lakers didn’t add huge pieces this offseason, but with Ball and Ingram, we are starting to see how new President Magic Johnson wants to build this team. 2017-18 will be a year to build for the franchise before the team hones in on the playoffs.

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