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Monday 20 August, 2018 | RSS Feed

Los Angeles Lakers have two players in Top 25 under 25

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The Los Angeles Lakers might have been able to sign LeBron James this offseason, but don’t sleep on their talented young core. Over the past few years, the Lakers have been drafting very well and that has resulted in them having one of the best young cores in the league.

In 2016, the Lakers were able to draft Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick, and they followed that pick up by drafting Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart in 2017. These four players created quite the buzz in Los Angeles last season, as despite not making the playoffs, watching them play was certainly exciting.
Adding James to this young core will only help them get even better, and with all four being young, the Lakers are set up for sustained success. Recently, Bleacher Report ranked the Top 25 players under 25-years-old by the metrics. For the Lakers both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball made the list.

On the list, Ingram came in ranked 18th, while Ball was somewhat surprisingly ahead of him at 15th. As a rookie, Ball might have struggled to shoot the ball, but he did pretty much everything else exceptionally well.

From the point guard position, Ball not only did a good job setting up his teammates, but he was an elite rebounder and defender at the position.  Seeing Ingram coming in 18th might be a bit surprising. However, these rankings were based on metrics.

For the Lakers, having two players in the Top 25 under 25 is certainly a very encouraging sign as the franchise moves forward. Ingram won’t be 25 until September of 2022, and Ball won’t be 25 until October of 2022. With both players still being so young, they have a lot of time to learn and grow as basketball players.

Los Angeles Lakers receive second-most votes to land Jimmy Butler

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After a very successful summer in 2018, the Los Angeles Lakers will once again be in a position to be big players in free agency next offseason. Unlike this summer, the Lakers will have a superstar already in place to help persuade free agents to join the Lakers.

In addition to having LeBron James, the Lakers, of course, have the city of Los Angeles in their back pocket as a good chip to use. Even though next summer is still a year away, ESPN recently released their summer forecast for where some of the top players may land.
The Lakers received the most votes to land Kawhi Leonard as expected, as not too many believe he will be staying with the Toronto Raptors. However, it was interesting to see the Lakers receive the second-most votes to land Jimmy Butler.

Like Leonard, Butler is an All-Star as well, and will be a free agent next offseason. Due to some drama in Minnesota, Butler’s time there might be coming to an end after next season. In the voting for where Butler lands, it was the Knicks coming in first, as there seems to be a belief that Butler, Kyrie Irving, and Kristaps Porzingis could team up in New York.

While the Lakers will certainly be pursuing Leonard first in free agency, Butler would be an intriguing backup plan. Butler is a very good two-way player that can defend multiples on the court, which is something the Lakers like.

However, one of the downsides to Butler is the amount of wear and tear he has. Even though he is still fairly young, Butler is frequently among the top players in minutes played per game. As a team that could be pushing toward a title soon, the Lakers certainly don’t want to handcuff themselves to a player that might have injury issues in the near future.

Los Angeles Lakers: Jeanie Buss discusses the future, Kobe Bryant

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Los Angeles Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss, or who I call Boss Lady Buss, sat down with Rich Eisen in his DIRECTV studio in El Segundo, right behind the Lakers offices, to discuss Magic Johnson, LeBron James, and her team.

She has full faith in Magic Johnson as well as head coach Luke Walton who got everyone to buy into his vision. She is happy that the organization is cohesive and is heading in the right direction. “I have complete in him, that he will make decisions that will get us there,” said Buss.
Jeanie and Magic were raised by the same father so to speak. Magic wanted to learn about the business of the NBA from Dr. Buss. She feels like that’s why they see things the same way because the learned to endear the same philosophy.

The two met when Magic was 19, and she was 17, and he told her that he was only staying with the Lakers for three years until he could make it back home to his home team, the Detroit Pistons. When she told Dr. Buss, he assured her that the first time he steps on the Lakers court in the Forum, he would never look back.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have exceeded her expectations with the cap space advancements, and with Magic catching or signing the big fish, LeBron James. She’s happy with the draft picks, with the development of those players such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.

When Magic came on board, according to Buss, things calmed down. The Lakers organization is cohesive now, stable and she is very happy with her decision to change the front office.

Buss was hands-off when it came to negotiations with the King of the NBA. She believes in Johnson. She didn’t delegate the task to him, she “empowered” the Lakers legend.
Buss divulges how the meeting with LeBron James and Magic Johnson went down and how she heard about the King’s agreement to join the Purple and Gold.

The night Magic talked to LeBron, she didn’t know where the meeting took place but got a text from Magic saying, “Had a great conversation and we will see what happens.”
Buss got a text shortly after on her phone from LeBron’s agent Rich Paul. It said simply, “Congratulations.”
She said she got choked up thinking about the patient fans and what it would have meant to her father, Dr. Buss. She felt “Honored and validated.” She could now present a product to Los Angeles that they expect.

She has only had one brief conversation during a workout, and she cut it short because he was shirtless and sweating, and she was a bit nervous. Well, Jeanie, that never stops me, haha! But I am not the boss of the hoopers I interview, so I totally get it.

Buss likes that James invests in young people in his community trying to make a change becoming a leader in life. She loves the things that James has chosen to stand up for. The measuring stick for James, according to Jeanie, is nothing short of everything.

“For the Laker Organization we are not going to rest until we are proud,” said Jeanie, “Magic has brought championships and pride as a player, and I expect the same from him [James] as, you know, the face of our franchise. We want to win!”

Buss knows winning a championship is as rare as “lightning striking,” but she wants her team to be part of the conversation. She feels her team can’t get to the Championships if they don’t make the playoffs.

On Kobe fans not necessarily happy about LeBron coming to Los Angeles, Jeanie explained that Kobe is excited. “Kobe has been an inspiration for me, he’s given me his time, his wisdom — he’s a very strategic thinker,” said Buss. The two had a conversation about bravery, guts, and courage.

Kobe texted Jeanie a meme from the Game of Thrones depicting the Mother of Dragons, Khaleesi after the LeBron news hit the net. Kobe felt she had to learn to be that character. She wrote back, “you allowed me to see what I couldn’t — that I would make hard decisions.”

Buss wouldn’t comment on Lonzo Ball competing with Rajon Rondo for the starting point guard spot but did say that Rondo’s experience and a strong contributor who is consistent is what the team needs.

On Luke, she feels that he can connect with people in a way she hasn’t seen, he’s a good people person, and players buy into his vision. She felt bad that she couldn’t give Luke the players he needed to make it into the postseason. Well, that ain’t the case anymore.

Los Angeles Lakers: Rajon Rondo ready to help Lonzo Ball develop

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The Los Angeles Lakers reshaped their backcourt this offseason. With LeBron James now in town, some veterans were needed to round out the roster. One of those veterans that were signed was point guard, Rajon Rondo.

Rondo’s signing was one that made some people scratch their heads. However, it was a signing that fit the mold of what Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka were looking for.

They wanted hard-nosed, defensive-minded veterans that are also playmakers. While his defense has slipped in recent years, Rondo fits the bill about as well as any player available this offseason.

Last season, the Lakers backup point guard spot was a mess. When Lonzo Ball was off the court or sidelined with an injury the offense would suffer. Rondo will shore up the backup point guard position and is a big upgrade on Tyler Ennis, Alex Caruso and Isaiah Thomas, the trio that backed up Ball a majority of the 2017-18 season.
When he was signed, there was some debate about whether he would become the starting point guard. Rondo has been a starter for a majority of his career. His rookie season was the only time he came off the bench more than half of the games he played in.

That is something that will probably change this season. However, starting is not something Rondo is interested in. He only wants to win and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

To accomplish that goal, the young players need to continue developing. One of the players that the Lakers are hoping takes a leap this upcoming season is Lonzo Ball, and Rondo is ready to help make that happen.
“I’m ready to help develop Lonzo as much as possible,” Rajon says.

“If I’m not starting and he’s starting, he’s going to be ready to go and ready for anybody that comes his way. And we’ll be ready to roll.”

“My main objective is to win.”

This is excellent news for the Lakers and their fans. Rondo has rubbed some coaches and teammates the wrong way in the past but has turned into a great veteran, locker room presence.

Magic and Pelinka are hoping that continues this upcoming season with the Lakers. Rondo is competitive and wants to play, but if the Lakers are winning, don’t expect him to upset the chemistry.

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