Last night, the team selected Duke’s Brandon Ingram with the second pick in the NBA draft. The lanky teenager played just one season of college basketball. Now he’ll be counted on to help repair a once-dominant franchise that’s coming off the three worst seasons in its history.
Ingram’s selection comes just a few days after the Lakers introduced Luke Walton as coach. Walton is the 36-year-old former player and son of Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton, who had been assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for the past three seasons. His hiring and the selection of Ingram point to a new style of play for the Lakers that relies on smaller players, a lot of movement, a lot of three-pointers and guys who can defend multiple positions on the floor.
The Lakers also say they’re looking to get better through free agency and trades, two areas where they have not been successful in recent seasons But Bill Reiter, radio host at 570 LA Sports and a national columnist for CBS Sports.com, says the Lakers are probably going to have to rely on a talented-but-unproven crop of players they’ve picked up in the draft over the past few seasons:
“You don’t have the opportunity for a lot of sexy moves, said Reiter. “Breaking news, Lebron James isn’t coming to town, Kevin Durant isn’t coming to town, and you don’t have a lot of assets to make big bold moves that are going to shock the world,” Reiter said. “Hopefully Luke Walton will be able to develop the pieces that are already in place to be better than they’ve been the last couple of years.”
It’s the off-season, when everyone is undefeated and optimism abounds. But even without a major trade or free agent acquisition, Reiter said there’s reason for Lakers fans to be cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead: