4. Draft a Potential Starter
The Lakers haven’t done a good job in the draft lately. Currently, Robert Sacre is the only recent draft pick on the Lakers roster. He is a nice prospect to be a backup center, but he doesn’t look like he’ll ever be an NBA starter. This year’s 2nd round pick, Ryan Kelly, will also have a shot at finding a bench role for the Lakers. The Lakers need to hit on their 2014 draft pick. If the Lakers miss the postseason, there is absolutely no reason they shouldn’t be able to find a starter in the lottery. Even if they do make the playoffs, they won’t be much higher than a 6 seed, which could still give the Lakers a top 18 pick. In a draft that is touted as having the most blue-chip recruits since 2003, the Lakers have to find a player who can start. The Lakers have had only one 1st round pick since 2009. That pick ended up being Toney Douglas who was traded to New York before ever playing a game for the Lakers. To create a championship team, the Lakers need to hit on cheap talent who can contribute that comes from the draft. We’ve waited a long time for a homegrown difference maker, and the Lakers have a chance to get one this season.
None of these are outlandish expectations – au contraire – these are typical expectations for a team in a desirable location with cap space. And if Jim Buss can fulfill all of these needs, it will go miles in smoothing his relationship over with the Lakers faithful and with calming nerves about the future of the franchise. If he can field a competitive team that isn’t cap strapped for the foreseeable future, Lakers fans may finally come around to Jim Buss.