Lakers-Era of Errors-Over?”
You could see a sigh of relief on the face of LA Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack when the NBA draft lottery was over.
Maybe it was because the drama-and-pressure was finished. The drama of waiting to see if they could win the lottery, retain a top thee pick. or face the catastrophe of having to ship the pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, as part of the final payment for the awful Steve Nash trade years prior.
Maybe it was the removal of pressure of having one of the worst rosters in the league, as they finshed with the worst record in Lakers franchise history.
They will draft 2nd after the hapless 76eers make their first pick for the third year in a row. The Lakers are guaranteed of getting a great young talent, but like so many other have learned, it takes young talent time to grow into NBA players.
Witness the ups and doens, the funks and the fatigue that Julius Randle and D”Angelo Russell went thru last year.
Many think the 76ers will take LSU jumping jack Ben Simmons, and the Lakers will get Duke’s Brandon Ingram. I think the opposite.
The new leadership of the 76ers is Jerry Colangelo and son Bryan. One of their closes allies in college basketball is Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. I think they go for the 6’9 Ingram, a more complete player, than the 6’10-Simmons from LSU, who is a load, but not polished nor mature..
The Lakers draft history is not good. Showtime, and that was decades ago, brought them picks like Magic Johnson and James Worthy. Draft day trades brought them Kobe Bryant.
Free agents brought them rings to continue the tradition. but it also meant alot of late first round draft picks. And then the Lakers got into the business of dealing those picks away.
The LA drafts have been pitiful of late. 1st round picks like George Lynch, Mark Madsen, Devean George, Eddie Jones and Sasha Vujacic.
A draft that included a bust like Early Jones, a 7-footer from the District of Columbia, and then the pick that was Javaris Crittenton, who became a gang member and a convicted murderer.
The most recent best pick was 7′-C-Marc Gasol, who wound up being trade bait for his brother Pao Gasol of Memphis.;
The draft brought the Lakers short term big men help from Andrew Bynum and Elden Campbell, but injuries and age limited their long term contributions.
Think about this. The last established Lakers star to come on draft night was Derek Fisher, and that was in 1996, some 20-years ago.
An awful lot of bad choices, and some questionable ones, have put the Lakers in the position they find themselves this morning. There will be no Kobe Bryant next season. There will be a young coach everyone likes in Luke Walton.
The sigh of relief from Kupchack means the suffering is almost over. The Lakers will have 3-cornerstone players by opening night, and between now and then, they will have 66M in salary cap space to consider spending.
It’s been dreadful, what we have seen the last two winters, (36-128), but it’s going to get better.
The body language of the GM pretty much told the story when the draft lottery TV show was completed.