Los Angeles Clippers: Ranking NBA teams based on who has the brightest future

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11: Head Coach Doc Rivers and Montrezl Harrell
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11: Head Coach Doc Rivers and Montrezl Harrell /
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7.) Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have been in the rebuilding stage for a while. Starting their rebuild in the 2014, LA selected Julius Randle from Kentucky with the seventh pick. Randle, who is now the longest tenured player on the team, is a elite rebounder and post scorer. Randle has improved little by little each season, and as of lately, has been in trade talks due to his large contract and the Lakers desire to bring big names to the City of Angels.

Also in 2014, LA selected Jordan Clarkson from Missouri, who served as a backup guard for the team, until he was traded (due to his contract as well) at the 2018 deadline.

In 2015, LA was bad enough to land the number 2 overall pick and took D’Angelo Russell. DLo had a solid rookie season and partnered with Kobe Bryant, they lead the Lakers to a 17 win season, the worst record in franchise history. 17 wins were good enough to land them their second consecutive second overall pick in 2016.

Brandon Ingram was their selection in 2016. Ingram came into the league with big expectations. Ingram is a long and lanky scoring forward. Ingram received comparisons to superstar Kevin Durant. Unfortunately, Ingram didn’t instantly take over the way that Durant had in his rookie season on the Supersonics. Putting up only 9.4 points per game, Ingram disappointed some Lakers fans. Ingram, Randle, Russell, and Clarkson all seemed to be average young players. The Lakers needed a big name, and luckily enough, there was one in particular (with a very outspoken father) in the 2017 draft.

For the third consecutive year, the Lakers landed the second overall pick. Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, both guards, were amongst the top names. That known, LA dished Russell and overpaid center Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn for All-Star center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. With their second overall pick, LA chose Ball, whose father, Lavar, had been receiving as much spotlight as his son for his antics and outrageous hot takes. The 27th pick was used to draft Kyle Kuzma from Utah. Surprisingly, Kuzma received as much, if not more, spotlight than Ball in the summer league. Lakers fans interests’ were rejuvenated. Finally, the Lakers were on the road back to relevancy. Kuzma is expected to be amongst the top players in Rookie of the Year voting, and Ball looks like a good floor general for the Lakers future, but he needs help improving his jump shot.

The Lakers reportedly plan to chase free agents LeBron James and Paul George this summer. If they happen to land one or both of those players, their rebuild would speed up significantly. They currently have some bad contracts on the books, like Luol Deng’s and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s, each making $17 million. KCP’s contract expires this summer, but Deng will be around for quite a while longer. If the Lakers are able to develop their young players properly and can somehow manage to land some big name free agents, the Lakers could be back on top of the NBA again.