The recipe was simple, tank 4 straight years, accumulate hopeful draft picks, clean house in the front office, hire Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, and draft Lonzo Ball. Simple, right? Ok so maybe the formula was not as clean and smooth as Laker fans had all hoped, but the NBA is better when the Lakers are good; and the Lakers are on a fast track to prominence once again.
With the Clippers failing to seize their window of opportunity in Los Angeles, and a tumultuous offseason, the Lakers are once again the team in LA. But were they ever not? The Lakers have a history of winning and with the Clippers failing to make it to even a conference finals in their short time of excellence, the city of LA never really trusted or had REAL hope that the Clippers could bring home a championship. And last time I checked, the banners that hang in the rafters in Staples Center say Los Angeles Lakers on them.
The Lakers never really lost their grip on LA. They were still the premiere attraction even when the Clippers were winning and will now put a death grip on Los Angeles with the recent 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball. He is perfect for the Lakers, he is flashy and precise on the court and level-headed off the court. We will let his dad worry about the off the court antics, I think he has it covered. Lonzo just showed out in the summer league, and I know everyone will say that it is just the summer league, but if you don’t dominate in the summer league then you probably won’t be productive when the real season begins. His name alone draws fans, the Lakers vs. Celtics in the summer league sold out. That is the first time in the 14 years of the summer league that a game has sold out. This guy is the real deal. I think the best comparison for Lonzo is Jason Kidd, but he is the closest thing we have seen to Magic in quite some time. The court vision cannot be taught and he doesn’t have to score the ball to have an impact on the game. He is a polarizing figure, sometimes I don’t understand the hate on Lonzo, I think it is mainly people wanting him to fail so his dad will shut up, but love him or hate him he is a perfect here in LA and will bring winning back to LA for years to come.
In addition, the development of Brandon Ingram is something I am supremely looking forward to watching this year. When Magic traded DeAngelo Russell he essentially was pointing to Ingram saying “you’re the guy,” and it seems that he has relished that fact and is ready to lead this team. Even though he only played 31 minutes in the summer league, those were some good-looking minutes and he will only get better as the season goes on.
The simple fact is that the Los Angeles Lakers are a destination team, the Clippers never will be. Just look at Paul George, he has been wanting to come to LA for 2 years now, and play for who? The Lakers. And with the instability that is going on in Cleveland, might I dare say Lebron will take a look at the Lakers next year. And what will be the enticing factor? Those young stars. Lonzo can dish the ball like nobody that Lebron has ever played with, and if Ingram can mature like Laker fans hope he does, that will take some of the scoring responsibility off Lebron, further enticing him to come on out to LA. As a Laker fan, this is the first season I have been excited about in about 5 years. We have solid young players, and free agents that want to come play for us and be a part of the Laker legacy.