The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their longest playoff drought in franchise history, missing the postseason in each of the last four seasons. Considering you have to go back to the mid-70’s to find a stretch where they missed the playoffs in back-to-back years, that’s a pretty insane fact.
The Lakers are hoping the direction president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are taking them in rights the ship, and much of that hope now rides on the shoulders of No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball.
Considering how Las Vegas Summer League went for the Lakers, there’s reason to have hope the team can take a step forward from where they’ve been in recent years. With a little development from the rest of their young core, and veterans like Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in tow, winning more games isn’t an unreasonable prediction.
But what about the playoffs? Ball was in New York for the NBA’s rookie photoshoot with Panini and spoke with Lang Whitaker about the upcoming season. Lonzo sees himself fitting in well into the kind of team head coach Luke Walton is trying to build on the court.
“I think I fit in pretty good. He wants to play fast, that's how I've been playing my whole life. He needs someone to run the team and I feel I can do that to. I'm just coming in there with a mindset to win and just try to do whatever I can to make that happen,” Ball said.
As far as expectations, much like Jordan Clarkson, Lonzo is thinking playoffs.
“Trying to make the playoffs,” said of the team’s hopes this year. ”That's the plan, that's what we're working to. That's definitely the goal for this year... I know the Western Conference is tough, but It's definitely doable or I wouldn't say.”
The Portland Trail Blazers snuck into the playoffs at an even .500 last season, which would be a 15-win improvement from the purple and gold. Possible? Sure. Likely? After LaVar spoke Lonzo to the Lakers into existence, and witnessing Summer League, it’s hard to bet against the the ambassador of Big Baller Brand.