STAYING: Tarik Black, Anthony Brown, Jordan Clarkson, Marcelo Huertas, Larry Nance Jr, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Louis Williams and Nick Young.
ADDED: Jose Manuel Calderon (New York), Brandon Ingram (Duke), Luol Deng (Miami), Timofey Mozgov (Cleveland) and Ivica Zubac (Mega Leks).
GONE: Brandon Bass (LA Clippers), Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert (Charlotte), Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre (New Orleans) and Metta World Peace.
STRENGTHS: Super interesting young nucleus with the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle … They ooze with talent and have been surrounded with heady veterans like Luol Deng and Jose Calderon, who should bring much-needed mentorship, professionalism and experience to that locker room … Deng has had a lot of success transitioning for the small forward to the power forward spot … They are in a pretty good spot in terms of quickness and athleticism … New culture under Luke Walton, who will probably see more eye-to-eye with the team’s young players … They can’t possibly be as dysfunctional as they’ve been in the past few years.
WEAKNESSES: They are not in win-now mode … The first season after the Kobe Bryant era should be about developing young talent … There will be a lot of mistakes borne out of inexperience … Bad decision-making plagued the team last year and there will be a lot of that this season too … Having so many players looking to establish themselves in the league typically doesn’t translate into unselfish play … Defensive effort and focus can only improve, but you can count on the Lakers being one of the worst clubs in the NBA in those areas … Not that they have great defensive personnel, anyway, especially at the guard positions … Not enough shooters, although they will probably hit more than 31.7 percent of their three-point attempts this time … Can Timofey Mozgov succeed where Roy Hibbert failed? … Based on his recent injury problems, perhaps not.
PREDICTION: 4th in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference.