The Los Angeles Lakers Scouting Department has outdone itself in the last eight to nine years. I wanted to go over a few of these (still) young stars; where they are now, expectations and an overall fun analysis.
D'angelo Russell's injury woes and unexpected pit-stop with the Golden State Warriors has primed him for an exciting season, hopefully, fingers crossed. The awkward lefty didn't impress very often last season and felt second fiddle to Anthony Edward's daily highlight reel. I'm not predicting any awards for Russell, and I'm not sure if being a finalist for Most Improved Player twice in four years is a stellar look.
Jordan Clarkson's Sixth Man of Year campaign was impressive, so impressive that a local Salt Lake City News Reporter couldn't even recognize him. Here's the link, 2news-reporter-to-nba-6th-man-of-the-year-did-you-attend-any-jazz-game. He has a solid chance of repeating this award and contributing even more for a deeper playoff push. This could be a great opportunity to capitalize on the defensive end of the floor where he hasn't always been applauded.
Brandon Ingram may very well earn a second All-Star selection but he'll need to focus on the defensive side of the ball if he actually wants to become an elite player on the court. Ingram is at about 23.8 PPG with 4.3 DRBS and 4.9 ASSTS. Sadly, the New Orleans Pelicans will likely struggle to find any winning consistency with the awkward additions of Devonte Graham and Jonas Valanciunas.
Lonza Ball and Alex Caruso are the Ones To Watch this season without a doubt. Caruso is coming with a Championship campaign in the purple and gold AND an off-the-backboard lob to LeBron James in last year's playoff series with Phoenix. It will be interesting to analyze Caruso's game without LeBron James and outside of a system that perfectly suited his strength. I'm hoping the Chicago staff doesn't ask for too much outside Caruso's comfort zone because it may put him in tough spots, but there are enough scorers to hide Caruso on that end of the court.
On the other hand, Lonzo Ball is very well primed for an MIP campaign and even an All-Star game if his numbers are there. I think this guard rotation in Chicago is clunky but it's talented, which is better than not being talented. The Bulls are going to score and Lonzo has a real chance of scoring 20 points a game along with up to double digit assists. It's going to be so much fun to watch and I really want them to have a good amount of nationally televised games.
I'll be back with a second part to this post, but for now, who are you most surprised to watch?