In what has been a theme lately — and by lately I mean for the past few decades — the Los Angeles Lakers can’t seem to get credit where credit is due. The 2018-19 NBA GM survey released by NBA.com is just the latest example of that.
In this year’s edition of the GM survey, the Lakers received zero votes in the “Most Promising Young Core” category. Meanwhile, the team’s pacific division rivals, the Phoenix Suns, received 7 percent of the votes.
Here is the full breakdown of the voting:
Which team has the most promising young core?
1. Philadelphia – 47%
2. Boston – 33%
3. Chicago – 7%
Phoenix – 7%
Also receiving votes: Denver, Utah
In some ways, it makes sense why the Lakers would fall a few spots in the young core rankings.
Over the past two seasons, the team has parted ways with former No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell and former No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle, as well as late draft gems like Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Thomas Bryant. From a pure mathematical standpoint, it’s true the Lakers’ young core has gotten smaller and is therefore less exciting, I guess.
But even with all the players that have departed from the team, the Lakers still have one of the more exciting young cores in the league with No. 2 overall picks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram and last year’s steal of the draft Kyle Kuzma. All three players were participants in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles this past season.
Additionally, Kuzma and Ball’s fellow 2017 NBA Draft pick Josh Hart lit up Las Vegas Summer League in Las Vegas, winning MVP of the exhibition tournament.
The Lakers also did a decent job of replenishing their young core with the three picks in the 2018 NBA Draft that were used to select Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Svi Mykhailiuk. Wagner and Mykhailiuk also both received votes for “Steal of the Draft.”
Can you make an argument that the Lakers young core isn’t as exciting as it used to be? Sure, but to not have them in the conversation at all is hard to understand.
If I had to guess, though, the Lakers aren’t too torn up about it. They’ll go into the season with arguably the greatest player alive — and the GMs’ MVP favorite — in LeBron James on their roster, and will have the opportunity to pair him with another superstar player in free agency next summer. Plus, the Lakers have the rights to all of their future first-round picks for the first time in years.
Recognition and praise is nice and all, but the Lakers and their young core have their sights set on something much bigger this season.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.