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Why Los Angeles Lakers should use 2014-2015 season to develop future
During the previous NBA off-season, Lakers fans had high hopes for NBA talents such as Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony to come to L.A.. These expectations felt realistic in some ways. First, the Lakers have been able to use their location and championship tradition to attract big names through free agency or trades in the past. These hopes came crashing once Lebron returned to Cleveland and Carmelo stayed in New York.
The Lakers made a minor splash when they acquired Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets. The Houston Rockets had hoped to shed salary cap to acquire Chris Bosh, but alas he stayed with the Miami Heat. Other Lakers acquisitions of Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis were made that stabilized the front court after losing Pau Gasol to the Bulls.
In the NBA draft, the Lakers drafted Julius Randle with the seventh pick and acquired Jordan Clarkson from the Wizards with their second round pick. In most Lakers fans' eyes, this was a successful draft. Julius Randle was expected to eventually take the torch from Kobe in the next couple of years and Clarkson can potentially be an explosive guard in this league.
Early issues in Regular Season
Every reason that the Lakers had to be excited for the regular season came crashing on the opening night of the NBA season. Julius Randle broke his leg late in the game against the Houston Rockets ending his season as abruptly as it had started. Lakers fans' were in shock. There wasn't much hope of playoffs to begin with but, now their future had been prolonged. Julius Randle would lose a season of NBA development to injury. This would begin a domino effect of injuries for the next couple of months. Ryan Kelly, Nick Young, and Steve Nash all suffered injuries with Nash missing the season to back nerve issues.
As for the players that managed to avoid injuries, Kobe Bryant was the primary Laker to give hope to an organization that hasn't had much in the previous two seasons. Kobe has managed to lead all NBA players in scoring for the first month of the season. Gone are the fears of a player that might never be the same. Kobe has shown that he can still score; producing points in a variety of ways.
Other players that have impressed have been Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin, and Jordan Hill. When given minutes, Ed Davis has shown that he can be an effective rim protector and provide scoring as well. Jeremy Lin has been assigned with ball-handling duties; creating shots for others while being able to get to the basket. Jordan Hill has been able to knock down open mid-range jumpers as well as attacking the basket for rebounds.
Rest of Season questions and possible answers
As most fans can accept, there will be plenty of ups and downs this season. Kobe has done lots of shooting and scoring while the Lakers have had numerous losses. Byron Scott has preached defense with limited results.
Some questions include will Lakers make mid-season trade and does Byron Scott make any starting lineup changes in future.
In regards to any possible Laker trades, I personally believe that the organization should look towards the long-term primarily. If a short-term solution presents itself during free agency, then take it but otherwise stick to the long-term. Mitch Kupchak should focus on acquiring draft picks and assessing the current Lakers roster. The goal in mind should be to keep the top 5 protected pick from Phoenix Suns. By having two first-round picks, the Lakers can quicken the rebuilding process. Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and whoever is drafted in 2015 will give the Lakers a nucleus of young talent that hasn't been seen in a while.
As far as the starting lineup is concerned, I don't personally believe that there will be many changes at all to it this season. Obviously this could change with a major trade or injuries, but not much has happened so far in the season. Byron Scott has opened up the possibility of changing the starting lineup in the future though. In my opinion, changes could take place at the Center position or Small Forward position. Wesley Johnson has taken the starting spot because of his defensive presence. He lacks some needed scoring at the position that could help take some of the burden from Kobe. This will be something to watch as to how Wesley Johnson improves during the season.