The Los Angeles Lakers will be getting star Kobe Bryant back for one more crack at a title and LA has two picks in the upcoming June 25th NBA Draft, and with GM Mitch Kupchak, this team has reason for hope, but picking them to even make the Western Conference Playoff next year seems like a stretch.
Introduction and What To Expect For Now
When you’re suddenly the second-best professional basketball team in Lalaland without a question and you’ve just finished the NBA’s Regular Season an abhorrent 40 games under .500—even 8 games worse than the Sacramento Kings (29-53)—and you still have Kobe Bean Bryant on your roster, then what the heck exactly do you do now if you’re Los Angeles Lakers General manager Mitch Kupchak? First off, you really try to make the make the best out of the two picks of the 8 spots you have between No’s 27 and 34 in the NBA Draft (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) on June 25th. The Lakers’ Round 1 Pick this year—Los Angeles traded with the Houston Rockets—is at the #27 spot and Kupchak and Head Coach Byron Scott should be able to get a really good player that could really help this team Down The Road. According to most Mock NBA Drafts, the Lakers should be able to get someone like Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona), Tyus Jones (Duke), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Caris LeVert (Michigan State), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Cameron Payne (Murray State), R.J. Hunter (Georgia State), Christian Wood, (UNLV), Jarrell Martin (LSU), Cliff Alexander (Kansas) or Dakari Johnson (Kentucky), with either a Power Forward, Small Forward or Shooting Guard and potential successor to the now 36-year-old superstar Bryant the most logical position to draft for. And then, just 7 picks later early in Round 2 and before the Barbecue Chicken Wings have gone tepid and the Dancing Girls have gone home, Bubba, Los Angeles should be able to get someone nice with its #34 overall Pick and someone to stick on its roster.
NBA odds makers expect the Lakers (21-61 in 2015, 98.5 PF-105.3 PA) to also try to do some things in the Free Agency market in the coming months, but this team—owned by the Jerry Buss Family Trust and run by the late Buss’ daughter and team President Jeanie Buss—a huge fan of the hit CBS reality TV show Big Brother—does have some really nice parts around The Black Mamba (Bryant), now including starters C Jordan Hill and PG Jordan Clarkson, PFs Nick (Swaggy P) Young and Ryan Kelly, SF Ed Davis, C Robert Sacre, PG Jeremy Lin and a plethora of decent SGs in Wayne Ellington, Vander Blue and Findlay Prep graduate Jabari Brown. So, there is definitely room for some Hope for the Lakers (12-29 Home, 9-32 Away) to bring some joy back to the Staples Center in the 2015/2016 season, so keep this is mind while making your NBA picks.
2015 Los Angeles Lakers Closing Roster and Depth Chart
C—Jordan Hill (12.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
PF—Carlos Boozer (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SF—Wesley Johnson (9.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 apg)
SG—Kobe Bryant ? (22.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.34 spg)
PG—Jordan Clarkson (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Los Angeles Lakers Closing Bench, Roster Depth
C—Robert Sacre (4.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
PF—Nick Young (13.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
SF—Ed Davis (8.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.2 rpg)
SG—Wayne Ellington (10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PG—Jeremy Lin (11.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.11 spg)
PF—Julius Randle (2.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg; 1 game only)
PF—Ryan Kelly (6.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
SG—Jabari Brown (11.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.1 apg)
SG—Vander Blue (11.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg)
PG—Ronnie Price (5.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
PG—Dwight Buycks (8.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Dream Rebuilding Checklist For the Los Angeles Lakers
1—Hope someone great falls to them at #27 spot in NBA Draft (Could happen)
2—Hope someone good falls to them at #34 spot in NBA Draft (Will happen)
3—Have Kobe Bryant return Happy and Healthy and Focused (Will happen)
4—Sign a star Free Agent like LaMarcus Aldridge, Goran Dragic, Lou Williams (May happen)
5—Give The Kids A Chance and Let Everyone Know Their Role (We shall see)
6—See if Shaq Fu Has Anything Left (Won’t happen, He Old and Chubby Now)
Dream Realistic Starting Lineup For Rebuilt Los Angeles Lakers
PF—LaMarcus Aldridge ? [R] (via Free Agency)
SF—Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ? (via NBA Draft)
SG—Kobe Bryant ?
PG—Jordan Clarkson or Goran Dragic
Conclusions and What the Lakers Should to Do
Getting a solid Power Forward for The Future like Portland Trail Blazers Free Agent and star LaMarcus Aldridge and a potential replacement for Bryant—though impossible unless LeBron James suddenly (theoretically) decided to go Hollywood—like the Toronto Raptors Lou Williams at the Shooting Guard spot seem to be the top priorities for the Los Angeles Lakers (33-46-3 ATS in 2015) right now, as well as maybe getting a killer PG like the Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic or the Phoenix Suns’ Brandon Knight. We’ll see. But there’s really no way to go but up for the Now Lessor of The NBA’s Two Los Angeles’s, these Purple Rain-and-All That Glitters Ain’t Gold-clad Lakers (2-14 in Pacific Division, 9-43 vs. Western Conference), who are probably just very thankful that the Minnesota Timberwolves play in the Western Conference and finished way below them with an “Is That For Real Man?” 16-66 Regular Season record and torrid .195 winning percentage in, strangely enough, the same city (Minneapolis) the Lakers left 55 years ago. Hey, I think I smell something fishy here. The Timberwolves may be tanking so the Lakers don’t look so bad. No, wait a minute, that’s just my newest Next-Door Neighbor making popcorn or frying a pound of Wisconsin Butter I believe. My bad. I apologize. I’ve drifted some. Conspiracy theories are probably best left for the narrow-minded and paranoid radio show producers.
Anyway, this storied professional basketball team which once called that city Minneapolis home (1947-1960)—until Prince was born (1958) and his sheer talent proved to be just way, way, way, way, way too big for the fabled Minnesota city to contain both His Royal Badness and this NBA professional basketball team nicknamed the Lakers (as in The Land 10,000 Lakes, Juicy Luicy breath, or so, at least the Violet-tinted Fable goes)—actually has some reason to be optimistic in Bryant’s likely last season (the Lower Merion High School, [PA] product’s contract expires in the 2015/2016 season and he’s said that’s it) playing NBA basketball, even in the the wild, wild Western Conference. Stars like Michael Jordan and LeBron James and Kobe Bryant make all of their teammates around them play better and rise to their own individual levels of excellence simply because of their presence, a quality seldom seen in professional sports world these strange purple days.
PROJECTED FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK: Christian Wood, SF, UNLV