Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

Previews

Season preview: Los Angeles Lakers

STAYING: Corey Brewer, Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Tyler Ennis, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr, Julius Randle and Ivica Zubac.

ADDED: Lonzo Ball (UCLA), VJ Beachem (Notre Dame), Vander Blue (Los Angeles D-Fenders), Thomas Bryant (Indiana University), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit), Alex Caruso (Oklahoma City Blue), Josh Hart (Villanova), Kyle Kuzma (University of Utah) , Brook Lopez (Brooklyn), Briante Weber (Charlotte) and Stephen Zimmerman (Orlando).

GONE: Tarik Black (Houston), Timofey Mozgov (Brooklyn), David Nwaba (Chicago), Thomas Robinson, D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn), Metta World Peace and Nick Young (Golden State).

STRENGTHS: Exciting young nucleus … They have the athleticism and quickness to be a strong fast-break team … Especially now that they have passing wizard Lonzo Ball on board … He’s a true floor general able to make teammates better … That’s something L.A. was sorely missing … The Lakers could potentially become a pretty decent offensive squad … Lopez’s presence gives them quite an option in the low post … You would expect a handful of their young guys to really step up this season … There’s a positive vibe with the franchise again.

WEAKNESSES: It’s still a rebuilding year in which player development will take precedence over winning … Youngsters will get a lot of playing time and inexperience will cost them wins … Not to mention for many the focus will be on establishing themselves in the league and not so much on the final score … L.A. finished the 2016-17 season with the worst defensive rating in the NBA … Expect some progress there, especially with the addition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but they will not become a legit defensive team overnight … Chemistry, focus and effort need improvement.

PREDICTION: 3rd in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference.

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