If one were to do a word cloud for the most frequently used words to describe the Los Angeles Lakers’ goals this season, “growth” and “development” would be among the bigger vocabulary choices within. Coming off of the worst season in franchise history, the Lakers will measure their progress in how good their younger players look, rather than how many wins they improve their overall record by.
As D’Angelo Russell made clear when addressing his critics on Wednesday, the team’s young core has been putting in work this offseason. Much of their progress will depend on their own work ethic, but the team also attempted to acquire capable veterans to help guide them forward.
One such player Jose Calderon, whom the Lakers acquired when the Chicago Bulls needed to move his salary in order to free up cap space to acquire Dwyane Wade. Los Angeles received two second round picks for their trouble, but Calderon says he’s embracing the opportunity to help the team right now.
"I'm really excited about the season coming up,” Calderon told Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable Sportsnet. “I think I can be a good guy for all the young guys. I've been around for a while, so I'm just ready for whatever minutes I got, just go out there and play my basketball.”
Calderon cited his time with DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson in Toronto as examples of his experience as an asset to a developing team. As for his own personal role, Calderon isn’t going to be the stereotypical veteran grousing for minutes and shots as a team tries to rebuild around a youth movement. He’s ready to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him as they look to continue their development process.
“I'm just a team guy. I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win, to help my teammates get better,” said Calderon. “That's going to be my role.”
Despite obviously trying to manage expectations for the team, Calderon also sounds like he believes the Lakers have enough talent to surprise some people if they play the right way.
“The [most] important thing is we got to play as a team,” said Calderon. “We have enough talent to get baskets, so we just got to share that ball and we can be a really fun team to watch.”