Wait, wait, wait. Hasn’t the Los Angeles Lakers’ first season with LeBron James been an unmitigated disaster?
You could call it that, sure. But don’t forget we are talking about James’ initial time in Hollywood. He is signed on for at least two more and, besides shouldering some uncharacteristic blows he often looks like the most dominant force of the league.
That’s where the Lakers’ foundation begins. It may be enough on its own to justify our top place.
But there is more to consider here.
Former No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram was in the midst of a breakout before deep venous thrombosis prematurely ended his third time. The diamond in the rough of last year, kyle Kuzma, has pushed his counting categories nearly all . Lonzo Ball continued flood stat sheets with per-36-minute marks of 11.8 points, 6.5 assists and 6.3 rebounds before an ankle injury shut him down.
Kuzma is 23 years old; Ball and Ingram are 21. Whether they’re commerce chips or building blocks, they remain valuable assets.
They’ll need more win-now help if the Lakers will make a championship run with James. But given their financial flexibility, young talent and possible top-10 pick this summerthey possess the means to snag a celebrity (or more) for the second straight offseason.