It's no surprise that every Los Angeles Lakers supporter can't wait for the season to end. They want to see what does the offseason have in store for this storied franchise which has been in ruins for the past 3 seasons. Below is a team that I have assembled. (Note: The salary cap figure for 2015-16 will be around $66.5 million. The Lakers are currently fourth worst in the league, which means they keep their pick for this exercise)
Starting Point Guard: Kobe Bryant
An unconventional choice, but one with some merit. The free agent crop of point guards include Goran Dragic, Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley. All of them are good, no question about that. The likelihood of them leaving their teams is decidedly thin though. Putting Kobe at the point gives us an initiator who's almost always taller than his defender, and he always has some pretty spectacular, albeit risky passes in him. He also gets to balance facilitating and attacking.
Starting Shooting Guard: Justise Winslow (Drafted with the 4th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft)
A tough lefty swingman who has an insanely high motor on both ends of the court. He is already a very good perimeter stopper, and will most likely take Kobe's assignment. Offensively, he's still raw in many areas, but does show more polish than given credit for. With some tutelage, he could also initiate the offense (Passing and ball handling is an underrated aspect of his game).
Starting Small Forward: Luol Deng (Acquired through FA for 3 years, 37.5 million. Front loaded contract with a player option for the third year)
A seasoned veteran who is a consummate pro. He would almost certainly have Kobe's respect and trust. He has always been underrated, and his bread and butter is lockdown defense. His scoring has always been consistent and he is a very good passer.Basically, a do it all player who does not need many touches. A team player who is not afraid to be in critical situations. His leadership would be welcomed.
Starting Power Forward: Julius Randle
The 6-9 bruiser will be the X factor for the season. Whether or not he makes strides in his game during his rehab will be critical to his play. Compared to Zach Randolph and Lamar Odom, improving his jumper is a must. A tough as nails finisher already, if he adds some finesse moves, he would be a handful in the post. A fearless competitor and a hard worker on both ends.
Starting Center: Kosta Koufos (Acquired through FA for 3 years, 14 million)
The Ohio State alumni brings defense and toughness to the team, two things we sorely lack. His per-36 minute production has been pretty good. He will make an impact if he gets 25-28 minutes per game. Rim protection is one of his strengths, and it would bring our defense back to respectability.
Sixth Man: Nick Young
At 30 years old, there's probably no reason to believe Swaggy P will change the way he plays. Plenty of instant offense as well as Swaggy goggles after made threes, Defensively, he certainly has been better as of late, but would benefit by learning from Deng.
Backup Point Guard: Jordan Clarkson
A hyper athletic combo guard. Trusting him to run the bench might seem risky, but in his limited action he seems capable. He would benefit from adding 5-10 pounds, which will aid his finishing. More reps will help him be a more consistent shooter, while another year of learning NBA plays will help him in his facilitating.
Backup Power Forward: Andray Blatche (Acquired thorugh FA for 2 years, 3 million)
A very talented player with a personality comparable to Nick Young. He would provide us with a second bench scoring option, and it would help tremendously as Nick Young is very streaky. Won't provide much defensively other than some blocked shots, but is less of a sieve than Carlos Boozer. His size (6-11. 260 lbs) would serve him better when guarding one on one in the low block.
Backup Small Forward: Wesley Johnson
His 3 and D will be great to add to our bench mob. He's over his head starting games, but his athleticism and length would serve for a very exciting bench piece. He might not want to return in a bench role, but there will be plenty of 3-and-D guys in the free agency pool
Both play extremely hard. TB is a better defender and rebounder, but Rob is a more polished offensive player. Keeping both on the team would be great, as both cost less than 1 million and are great team players.
Darius Morris - A former Laker draft pick, he's been decent as Brooklyn's backup PG. A decent depth signing.
Jordan Hamilton - A shooter and not much else. Plays hard on defense, but is limited by his athletic ability.
Ryan Kelly - FIgures to play a lot depending on matchups. Very heady player with a sweet stroke from outside.
Norman Powell - A tough 6-4 guard from UCLA who will be provide some defense and scoring.
This might not seem like a very good team, but depending on chemistry, it could turn out to be a surprise package. The players are on contracts which don't really hurt the team's financial flexibility, and are tradeable.