NBA

Season Outlook for the 2017-2018 LA Lakers

Fall season is for Halloween, carving pumpkins, Uggs, and SPORTS.

October is the month of the MLB playoffs, near mid-season for the NFL, and the beginning of the NBA season. Oh and don’t let me forget the beginning of the NHL season! Don’t sleep on hockey tbh..

Anyways, the NBA season is nearing and fans couldn’t be more excited for this season. There have been so many moves that happened this offseason.
Simply put, this season should be one for the ages.
BTW, if you haven’t been keeping up with the offseason moves you can check them out here!

The young Lakers have been looking like a complete different team so far this pre-season. They have been pushing the ball in transition at an alarming rate, and have been incorporating Brandon Ingram as the focal point of the offense. All great signs for a young and athletic team. One of the major differences with this Lakers team is that they finally have a true, play making point guard running the offense.

Let’s take a look in on what this Lakers team could achieve this season.

Projected Pacific Division Standings
1- Golden State Warriors/ 71-11
2- Los Angeles Clippers/ 48-24
3- Los Angeles Lakers/ 38-44
4- Sacramento Kings/ 32-50
5- Phoenix Suns/ 30-52

The Lakers will finish 3rd in the division behind the Clippers and Warriors. The reason the Kings and Suns won’t finish better than the Lakers? The offense for the Kings will sputter frequently while their defense could be somewhat inconsistent with young players in De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Willey Cauley-Stein and Skal Lab. The departure of DCuz will be very noticeable. They should finish around the same record as last year with about 32 wins.

The Suns will not have too much trouble scoring the ball with young stud Devin Booker, and solid starter Eric Bledsoe. The glaring issue with this young team will be getting stops on defense. Josh Jackson should help the on the defensive side of the ball, but consistency will be an issue for the young stud. Regardless, 30 wins will be an improvement from last year’s 23 win season.

The Lakers may be the team that could take the biggest jump in the Pacific division. With Luke Walton making the team focus solely on defense, and running up and down the court, the Lakers should be able to win around 38 games. Their young and fresh legs will play to their advantage in hard fought games. They won’t shoot the lights out and will have times where the offense will disappear, but Lonzo has looked like the 3rd best playmaker in the Pacific division already and that speaks to his talents. The Lakers should improve on last year’s 26 wins.

Projected Team Starting Lineup
1st team
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Julius Randle
C: Brook Lopez
6th Man
: Jordan Clarkson

Projected Stats
Lonzo Ball: 14.7 PPG /6.8 APG /5.4 RPG
Brandon Ingram: 21.5 PPG/ 3.1 APG/ 5.7 RPG
Julius Randle: 11.6 PPG/ 4.2 APG/ 6.4 RPG
Brook Lopez: 17.2 PPG/ 2.7 APG/ 8.3 RPG
Jordan Clarkson: 13.3 PPG/ 3.5 APG/ 4.3 RPG

Bold Predictions of the Season:
-Kyle Kuzma will move into the starting lineup
Kuzma and Ball have already shown a ton of chemistry when they’re on the floor together. The Lakers will slowly mix Kuzma into the game with Lonzo and sooner or later, Kuzma should be able to make his mark in the starting lineup. He’s the stretch 4 that the Lakers have been searching for. Don’t get me wrong, Randle and Nance are solid players, but the lack of offense they provide may be an issue as the season unfolds. Look for Walton to insert Kuzma in with the starters to help stretch and run the floor.

-Luol Deng will be traded to a championship contender at the NBA trade deadline
All Laker fans want this to happen. The main reason being to clear more cap space after Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak decided Deng is worth a ton of money at his age. As the season progresses, Randle, Nance Jr., Brewer, and Kuzma will be taking up the majority of the Forward minutes. It’s a new NBA, and Deng is getting paid damn near 18 million to teach the young’ns to play D. Look for the Lakers to move him and get something small in return.

-Jordan Clarkson will be in the top 3 of the 6th Man of the Year award voting
Magic Johnson has set Jordan Clarkson’s goal for the season and it’s to win the 6th Man of the Year award. JC is definitely capable of completing this goal. He can score at will, spread the floor, and JC can run the offense as a floor general. The versatility in his game may be key to him winning the 6th Man award. The Lakers gave him a nice contract, which was a bargain for them, because he could be the most talented player off the bench. Also because he has the talent to be a starter on many other teams. Look for Clarkson to have a solid season and finish in the top 3 of the 6th Man voting.

Biggest Issue the Lakers will face this Season
Defense.
Let’s face it, the Lakers don’t have good defenders AT THE MOMENT. Their best perimeter defender is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who by the way is as consistent as they come on the defensive side of the ball. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball have the physical intangibles to be great defenders, but in the Western Conference, defending wings and point guards is TOUGH. Luke Walton has been preaching defense all offseason, and honestly ever since he’s gotten here in LA. There should be improvement from last year’s defense with offseason additions in KCP, Brook Lopez, and Andrew Bogut but the Lakers may struggle defensively with their young players. There’s no doubt that they will have their nights and strap up to get important wins. Consistency may be the bigger issue on the defensive side of the ball.

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