After the NBA Draft, free agency and the NBA Summer League lets take a look at where the Pandas stand heading into the 2017/18 NBA Season.
2017-18 Los Angeles Lakers Roster
NO. NAME POS AGE HT WT COLLEGE
Head Coach: Luke Walton
2 Lonzo Ball PG 19 6-6 190 UCLA
3 Corey Brewer SF 31 6-9 186 Florida
31 Thomas Bryant C 20 6-10 248 Indiana
6 Jordan Clarkson PG 23 6-5 194 Missouri
9 Luol Deng SF 31 6-9 220 Duke
5 Josh Hart SG 22 6-5 215 Villanova
14 Brandon Ingram SF 19 6-9 190 Duke
0 Kyle Kuzma PF 21 6-9 220 Utah
11 Brook Lopez C 29 7-0 268 Stanford
7 Larry Nance Jr. PF 23 6-9 230 Wyoming
1 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG 24 6-5 205 Georgia
30 Julius Randle PF 21 6-9 250 Kentucky
40 Ivica Zubac C 19 7-1 240
NBA Draft Recap
Round 1, Pick 2 (No. 2 overall): Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
No surprise here. Ball will step into the starting point guard role in Luke Walton’s high tempo offense.
Round 1, Pick 27 (No. 27 overall): Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah
Athletic stretch 4 who can put the ball on the floor and shoot from the outside fits well in the new pace and space NBA.
Round 1, Pick 30 (No. 30 overall): Josh Hart, G/F, Villanova
Loved this pick a 4 year guy who shot the ball well from 3 point range in college and can defend multiple positions.
Round 2, Pick 12 (No. 42 overall via Jazz): Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana
High energy banger but I don’t think he’ll take many minutes away from the combo of Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr at the 4 spot and there’s a log jam at center as well with Brooke Lopez and Ivica Zubac. Going to be interesting to see how Coach Walton uses him off the bench.
Free Agent Signings
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 1-year $18 million.
Tough physical, defensive-minded 6-5 shooting guard with a 7 foot 3 wingspan. Will step into the 2 guard spot vacated by my former favorite Laker Nick Young.
The current roster now has a pretty nice mix of veterans and young guys but the key component of the roster is flexibility and cap space for summer 2018. The contracts of Brook Lopez, Corey Brewer and KCP all come off the books next summer. A trio of fan favorites from last year’s team (Nick Young, David N’waba and Tarik Black) are no longer on the roster. Also veteran Metta World peace is not expected to be back with the team next season.
Not mentioned on the roster is Alex Caruso who signed a two way deal with the Lakers after playing really well in the summer league.
2017-18 Season Expectations
Well if you believe Lavar Ball, Lonzo will lead the Lakers back to the playoffs and win NBA Rookie of the year. I’m not ready to hop on that train yet but after watching the summer league (I know I know it’s just summer league) I believe Lonzo will have a big impact on the Lakers next season his passing skills are legit and guys seemed like they really enjoyed playing with him. Lonzo won summer league MVP averaging 16.3 points, a summer league-leading 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Brandon Ingram in his one summer league game showed an improved handle, jump shot and core strength since the beginning of his rookie season. Rookie Kyle Kuzma looked pretty impressive as well with averages of 21 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting a blistering 48% from 3.
The western conference has gotten better in the middle with Minnesota, Denver and Sacramento making significant upgrades so I’m not ready to anoint the Lakers as the 8th seed in the very tough from top to bottom Western Conference. I don’t expect them to finish in the top 8 but I do expect some improvement with the guys we’ve added and the expected growth from Randle, Clarkson and Nance Jr. I think it’s safe to pencil these guys in for about 35 wins sorry Lavar. Even though the playoffs are out of reach this year it’s safe to say things are finally looking up in La La Land.