Lakers Must Continue Youth Movement Without Superstar


The Los Angeles Lakers must resist the urge to trade for a superstar and trust in Luke Walton and the youth movement.

Its been a long time since the Lakers have had a team with no superstar on their roster. They’ve seemingly always had at least one superstar since the beginning of time with George Mikan, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor. The last two big names to dawn the Purple and Gold were Shaquille O’neal and Kobe Bryant.

Looking at their current roster you can see they’re missing that marquee franchise player. However what they do have is good young players with a lot of potential. This has some Laker fans wanting to trade those young players in order to try and acquire a superstar who might be available like a Demarcus Cousins or go after them in free agency.

While I see the appeal of acquiring a big name like through trade or free agency I don’t think that’s the direction the franchise should choose to go. The organization has done a good job in the draft of choosing high ceiling players with a lot of potential. They have four players currently on their roster who should be core pieces moving forward.

Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’angelo Russell, and Brandon Ingram all have such vast potential. These are the four guys a team like the Kings would want to trade a Demarcus Cousins caliber player for. The reason Los Angeles shouldn’t trade these core four players for a superstar is obvious. They have the potential to become superstars themselves. So far it looks like Randle, Russell, and Ingram could become a dangerous big three tandem maybe two or three years down the line. That’s not worth trading for an aging superstar.

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Also, having a superstar on this team could prove detrimental to the young players development. With a superstar in the rotation their would be less minutes and shots to go around. What helps players develop the most is just being able to go out their and learn on the fly. We’ve heard past players complain about superstars stunting their growth and that’s not something we want happening to the core four players.

“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention its hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously,” former Lakers big man Andrew Bynum told reporters following his stint with the Purple and Gold. “Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could see how it could stunt growth.”

Another reason the Lakers should stick with developing these young studs is that this seems to be the way the league is going in terms of rebuilding and its proven to be successful and appealing. You look around the league and teams are building through the draft to become great. They draft players and keep them around to have a more home-grown look. Look at teams like the Milwauke Bucks, Golden State Warriors, or the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Milwauke is already going to be in the playoffs and their best two players are both under the age of 22. The Timberwolves are also rich in young talent with Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns, and Zach Lavine. You know at some point they will put it all together and become a playoff team. And of course we all know how well the Warriors drafted in selecting Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green.

All three of these teams have drafted well and either are scary now or are going to be scary in the very near future because of their young guns. The Lakers young core has a chance to be just as good if not better than the other teams and that isn’t worth getting rid of. This group can be special. And they’ve already been showing that this season.

This year the Lakers are 15-26 and are currently only two games out of the playoffs. They are currently on pace to win 30 games this season which is a lot better than they’ve been the past two seasons. They’re fighting for a playoff spot and their best players are all under the age of 23.

Thanks to the new CBA it’ll also be easier to keep these players in Los Angeles for a long time. The new CBA allows players to sign even bigger contracts than ever before with their home team in an effort to keep everyone from Golden State. With the new CBA in place it is unlikely the young core will have any reason to leave Los Angeles. This will allow them to realize all of their potential in a Lakers uniform.

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However, the organization must continue to develop these young players for them to deliver on all that potential. This means obviously keeping them in Lakerland as well as focusing on putting players around them instead of trying to sign big names on free agency. The young core is already battling for a playoff spot in their first second or third year in the league and they’re only going to get better from now on out.