Los Angeles Lakers: Does youth hold up against rest of NBA’s youth

(Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images) /

How does the youth of the Los Angeles Lakers stack up against the other young cores in the NBA?

Although our Los Angeles Lakers are home watching the NBA playoffs, with most critics agreeing that the team is a few years away, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics were competing against each other for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics would eventually prevail in five games. This begs the question: do our young guys hold up when compared to their peers?

The Lakers‘ journey started in 2014. Since then, the Lakers have acquired Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. In that same time frame, the Boston Celtics have drafted Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and Philadelphia 76ers have drafted Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz.

It’s easy to be a prisoner of the moment and declare that the young players on the Sixers and the Celtics are better than the Lakers’ recent additions. After all, the Sixers and the Celtics battled for an opportunity to personally witness the greatness of LeBron James.

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However, each group of guys will ultimately be judged by their entire careers. Who’s to say that the Lakers won’t make a push when our core matures?

When evaluating a team’s youth, one must analyze both current and future value. The Sixers and the Celtics have already hit their stride and will likely continue to improve, but we shouldn’t write off our young guys just yet. It took a few years for Embiid to become the dynamic force that he is. Rozier and Brown made a jump this year that most weren’t expecting.

Although the production has not yet arrived for the Lakers, our guys may just be on a slower curve than the Sixers’ and the Celtics’ rosters.

Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball were rail thin when they came into the NBA, and we all knew that it might take a few years for both guys’ bodies to mature to a level capable of competing at a high level. The same can be said of Randle, who finally started to realize his potential midway through this season after identifying his strengths and weaknesses.

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Our guys may not hold up now, but oftentimes it’s the guys who weren’t quite ready upon arrival who blossom into NBA superstars. Boston and Philadelphia fans should enjoy their run now, but we’ll see who gets the last laugh when we revisit this question in 2022.