The Los Angeles Lakers currently sit with a 9-37, the worst record in the Western Conference, second worst in the league, and on pace to set a new low for the worst record in franchise history. They "boast" the league's worst defensive efficiency and net rating, and second worst offensive efficiency, according to NBA.com.
Other than that, things are going well. The real objective of the Lakers' 2015-16 season is to develop the youth, and on that front the year has been a mostly successful (if still frustrating at times) one. D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., and Anthony Brown have all shown flashes of their potential to be key, long-term pieces of the Lakers' rebuild at various points throughout the year, and the talent of the first two players on that list has caught the attention of Roy Hibbert and Shaquille O'Neal. The seven-footers were speaking at the "Lakers All-Access" event in Los Angeles on Monday night, and they took time to praise the two most recent Lakers lottery picks (although Shaq did slip-up a bit):
Shaq said his favorite player on the Lakers right now is D'Angelo. Then, corrects himself, & says he meant Julius Randle. "Sorry D'Angelo."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 26, 2016
Roy Hibbert said he tells young guys every game, "You'll have a good game." Hibbert also predicted Russell & Randle will be All-Stars— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 26, 2016
In addition to telling the kids they are going to have good games, Hibbert has tried to keep the team engaged and together by organizing off the court outings:
Roy Hibbert on paint-balling trips w/ Lakers teammates: "In a tough season like this, you have to keep your spirits high."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) January 26, 2016
Hibbert's on the court production has failed to impress this season, but mentoring the young guys and keeping the team from fracturing apart is important as well. Shaq has liked what he's seen enough to give Hibbert some high praise of his own:
Shaq said he hopes Roy Hibbert is part of the Lakers' long-term future— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 26, 2016
Hibbert may not be the next in a long line of great Lakers' big men that included Shaq, but it's nice to see he has found other ways to contribute to the team in spite of his struggles, even in a contract year, the type of situation where a lot of players would be looking out for themselves.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.