The Lakers have announced their summer league roster. The roster includes some second year players along with players who have not played for the Lakers before. I think this will give a lot of the second year players some more time to develop and spend more time with Mark Madsen, who has officially been brought on as one of Luke Walton’s assistant coaches, though he’s spent plenty of time with the Lakers in previous years. It will be very interesting to see how the development will transfer into the regular season. Check out the full roster details below.
For those of you who may not know, Jeanie Buss has been running the business side of the Lakers for quite some time now, while her brother, Jim, runs basketball operations alongside GM Mitch Kupchak. It’s safe to say that the last couple of seasons have not been up to Lakers standards. Now there will never be another Dr. Buss, but the Lakers need to figure something out and its ultimate up to Jeanie on what to do. Jim stated that he would step down if he didn’t have the Lakers contending again and his time is up on that statement. Does Jeanie fire him this off-season? That will remain to be seen. Until then, I can only give suggestions as to what I think would benefit the team.
The Lakers recently received permission to interview Ettore Messina, an assistant coach for the Spurs. While I may not be too familiar with him, anyone coming from the Spurs camp will likely bring positive things to the Lakers. It’s also been stated that Luke Walton and Kevin Ollie are on the list of coaches they’re interested in. I’m not sure Luke should give up his coaching job with Golden State just yet. Yes, he took over the head coaching position while Steve Kerr was out, but Steve Kerr still gave input and talked to the players. Also, the Warriors did not need players to be developed nearly as much as the Lakers do. Kevin Ollie is currently the coach a UConn and will have more experience with young players and how to prepare them. However, a name I noticed that wasn’t coming up as much as I’d hoped was Mark Jackson. He’s the one who helped build up Golden State and take them far. What caused them to fire him would seem to be irrelevant for the Lakers job. It’s a new team with new players and a team in desperate need of a good coach.
Since Byron’s firing, Jeanie has stated that she was not made aware of his firing. I think this lack of communication is not a good thing for the team at all. Even though Jeanie focuses on the business side, as an owner, shouldn’t she have been aware there were plans to fire Byron before it happened? I think so. And I think this is another reason why I believe Jeanie will ultimately need to make the decision on whether her brother and Mitch will stay and it’s a decision that needs to happen soon. As a fan of the Lakers and of basketball in general, it’s disheartening to see such a lack of communication at such high levels within the organization. I’m not expecting Jeanie to be just like Dr. Buss, but I think she needs to take control of this situation and do what she deems best for the team. I’ll be eagerly awaiting to see what comes next for a struggling Lakers team. Things can’t get much worse from here. I hope.
The Los Angeles Lakers have just fired Byron Scott. The team may or may not end up with a top 3 pick in the draft, but now we know they will have a new coach. With Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau off the market, it will be interesting to see who they go after. I’m hoping for a meeting with Mark Jackson and maybe even Luke Walton if he feels he’s ready to leave Golden State and work with a young, rebuilding Lakers team.
With the NBA draft lottery coming up tomorrow, I wanted to get a few quick thoughts out on who the Lakers should potentially pick with their (hopefully) three draft picks. The team has the potential to wind up with the number 4 pick based on their poor record this season and they also have picks 27 and 34. As far as keeping or flipping picks, I believe if they do receive the #4 pick it would be wise to keep and develop that player, but for the later picks it will really depend on who they get and who they could potentially flip them for.
Let’s start with the potential number 4 spot. Justice Winslow performed well at Duke at the SG/SF spot, but there’s also Willie Cauley-Stein who may be available. Cauley Stein is a center, which may be a more needed position to fill for the Lakers and lately, Kentucky players have had a decent run in the NBA (Anthony Davis, for example). These are merely speculation on my part since I don’t follow college basketball nearly as closely as I do the NBA. However, I do have a good idea of what spots do need to be filled or reinforced based on the Lakers current roster and who the upcoming free agents are.
For the later picks, the Lakers should probably go with a power foward and then a guard for the last pick. The Lakers had plenty of guards on the team this season, many just happened to be injured all or most of the season. At the 27th pick, Chris McCullough or Janell Martin would both be decent options at the PF position. They attended Syracuse and LSU, respectively, and those school have a good reputation for having some great players. Also, it wouldn’t hurt for the Lakers to start developing some younger players as they appeared to start doing with Jordan Clarkson this season. Clarkson was a late pick in last year’s draft and turned out to be a budding point guard under the advisement and mentorship of Steve Nash. The 34th pick is where I would take a shooting guard. I watched video footage of Rashad Vaughn from UNLV and Norman Powell of UCLA. Both guards had good footwork and jump shots that often saw the bottom of the net. These picks would allow the Lakers to come out of the draft with some good all-around additions to the roster. Tomorrow, however, we find out if they actually keep that top five pick. I’m sure many fans are hoping they do because after this past season, fans are definitely looking for a big turnaround.