Los Angeles Lakers: The Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Offseason

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Big Ticket is Potential… with a Huge Asterisk

This is a polarizing subject since everyone is pairing with multiple and different opinions on each and every Laker star. So let’s go through each of the three key Lakers that we are building upon still under rookie contracts. (This excludes Julius Randle, Josh Hart, and etc.)

Lonzo Ball (PG, UCLA, 1st Year)

Ball has already developed a great vision on offense in his first stint with Los Angeles. That was what he needed to be. While he might not be a great shooter, Ball was consistent with his playmaking abilities. In fact, the only rookie [in my opinion] that has such great comparable court-making decisions is Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Ball went under a rookie wall, [a heavy one, too], early on in the season. Patrick Beverley trashed him on defense in his debut. His father talked his way into tomfoolery, which created multiples layers of unwanted pressure. Lonzo Ball finished the year out strong. The Lakers, however, do need to place him in an offseason weights program to prevent lackadaisical knee sprains.

Brandon Ingram (SF, Duke, 2nd Year)

The 2016 draftee was picked after Simmons, and after what should be a Rookie of the Year caliber season, much of the NBA world believes that Simmons could be the best player in the league one day. Sure. The Process continues to develop their young two-star powerhouse. Ingram deserves more respect than he gets.

Ingram is quiet, reserved, and calm. He rarely posts on Instagram, rarely tweets, and rarely buzzes news headlines. It is his on-court performance that should matter. If it were not for the presence of a reborn and revamped Victor Oladipo, Ingram very well was the Most Improved Player. His averages spiked up from an underperformed rookie to a player who appeared to have potential.

His thin frame is still questionable since he only played in 72 percent of games this season. However, Ingram may be the most important piece on the Lakers roster, a testament to his talent and versatile skill set.

Kyle Kuzma (PF/SF, Utah, 1st Year)

Kyle Kuzma essentially came out of nowhere once the NBA season began. No one knew who he was. I only had heard glimpses of his game while he was playing at Utah. Unlike other NBA stars, Kuzma did not jump off the collegiate scene after one year. In 96 games at Utah, Kuzma shot only 63 percent from the free throw line and 32 percent from deep.

Kuzma tore up the Summer League with Ball at his side. Everyone laughed off his efforts, saying that it was “only the Summer League.” Kyle Kuzma then exploded in an out-of-nowhere fashion to end up as high as a top-five rookie in this campaign.

Although Kuzma is from one of the most impoverished areas in the country, he embodies the L.A. lifestyle, exemplified in his Twitter and other social media accounts.