14. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to struggle once again when compared to Lakers’ standards of their glory days. To reiterate, Kobe Bryant has retired. This will be a new era of Lakers basketball, but not only because Bryant is gone.
The Lakers have a young core that has some NBA experience, and they added an extremely talented player in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Lakers’ roster consists of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram. Ingram has a similar build and skill set to that of Kevin Durant, and in July, Durant even noted the similarities. “He reminds me of myself, but he’s a little farther along then I was at that stage,” Durant said of Ingram in July. “I’m a huge fan, [Ingram is] the first person I can say that I can look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror. I’m rooting for him.”
The Lakers are certainly rooting for Ingram to produce as well. And if Ingram develops into anything close to a Durant-level talent, the Lakers will have hit the jackpot.
Los Angeles also reeled in arguably the top head coaching candidate available, when they hired Luke Walton away from the Warriors. Walton, of course, got the Warriors off to a 24-0 start this past season. Walton was already highly regarded prior to his stint in place of Steve Kerr, but his whole body of work landed Walton his dream job with the Lakers.
In the last few years of Kobe Bryant’s career, the Lakers fell on hard times. But they’ve rebuilt the right way, through the draft, and in time it should pay off.
Next: No. 13