Most fans of the Los Angeles Lakers recognize that young guys like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma fit better alongside LeBron James than some of the veteran additions the front office has made since he agreed to sign. But coaches don’t always think in terms of potential, especially when wins are the priority.
So, in today’s Locked on Lakers, I opened up the mailbag to discuss how teams with expectations value floor over ceiling.
To start the show, someone asked about Jabari Parker back before he signed his two-year, $20 million contract with the Chicago Bulls. He would’ve been a somewhat awkward fit in the Lakers’ rotation given the position he’s best at but even more importantly than that, they could not have afforded him at that rate, making an already moot point ... mooter.
Svi Mykhailiuk has taken summer league by storm and has people wondering how the Lakers might find minutes for his abilities on the offensive side of the ball. In theory, this makes sense, but the three-year commitment the Lakers made to Svi would imply they’re willing to wait this out and give him time to develop.
The larger point, though, is that Walton and the front office don’t have time this season to see if Svi’s shooting translates to the NBA. Generally speaking, it wouldn’t necessarily shock me to see him lean heavily on veterans in big moments given their production is more predictable than the young core’s might be.
Coaches are more comfortable with high floors than high ceilings given what’s at stake, given that younger players don’t always reach their potential quickly enough, if they ever reach it at all. The Lakers are heading into a season with expectations for the first time in half a decade. How that affects their decision-making is going to be fascinating to watch.
As always, this is just a tidbit of the full context given in the show. Listen to the full discussion below and please check out old episodes or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.