Los Angeles Lakers 2016-17 NBA Season Preview: Start of a New Era

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Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell (Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr)

The Los Angeles Lakers were considered the worst team in the Western Conference last season after finishing 17-65, the worst franchise record. The Lakers decided to undergo a rebuilding process this offseason with the hope of reviving their legacy in the post-Kobe Bryant era.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster/Depth Chart

Point Guards: D’Angelo Russell,  Jose Calderon, Marcelo Huertas

Shooting Guards: Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams

Small Forwards: Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram, Nick Young, Anthony Brown

Power Forwards: Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Yi Jianlian

Centers: Timofey Mozgov, Tarik Black, Ivica Zubac

Key Loss/es: Brandon Bass (Los Angeles Clippers), Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert (Charlotte Hornets), Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre (New Orleans Pelicans) and Metta World Peace.

Key Additions: Jose Manuel Calderon (New York Knicks), Brandon Ingram (Duke), Luol Deng (Miami Heat), Timofey Mozgov (Cleveland Cavaliers), Yi Jianlian (Guandong Southern Tigers) and Ivica Zubac (Mega Leks).

Strengths: The Los Angeles Lakers are mostly composed of young players surrounded by veterans like Jose Calderon and Luol Deng. Young players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Brandon Ingram are expected to stand out, especially now that the Lakers are looking for the replacement for Kobe Bryant.

Having a new head coach like Luke Walton will be giving the Lakers a new culture next season. Walton is expected to replicate the success he made as Warriors’ assistant coach. The combination of the Lakers’ young core and Walton’s small-ball strategy will surely make the Lakers an exciting team to watch next season.

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Weaknesses: Leadership will be an issue in the Los Angeles Lakers, especially now that Kobe Bryant is gone. With the arrival of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, it still questionable if Jordan Clarkson or D’Angelo Russell can take the lead. Bad decision-making has been one of the major concerns for the Lakers last season.

An overhauled roster could create a problem with the team’s on-court chemistry. Defense is expected to be a problem for the Lakers next season. Despite the addition of Deng and Mozgov, the Lakers are still projected as one of the worst teams in terms of defense. Also, the Lakers do not have enough shooters on their roster, which could reduce the effectiveness of the small-ball offense.

Last season, Jordan Clarkson had the highest three-point percentage of 37.4 percent, followed by Lou Williams, who has 34.4 percent. Clarkson is still eyeing to improve his shooting and is expected to start for the Lakers next season.

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Predictions: The Los Angeles Lakers are not expected to be back in title contention next season.  Their main goal is the development of their young players, which could be vital in reviving the team’s legacy. Under Luke Walton, the Lakers are expected to have a better season and projected to finish 13th in the Western Conference.

Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/Viral Wide

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