The Los Angeles Lakers, the most proud & storied franchise arguably in the history of sports. With a total of sixteen NBA championships, twenty-one hall of fame players, four hall of fame head coaches, and the second best winning percentage in NBA history, the Lakers have had a proud history of excellence that most sports franchises could only dream of achieving.
But over the course of the current decade the once proud franchise has encountered several stumbling blocks.
Beginning in 2012 when GM Mitch Kupchak made the trade for then superstar big man Dwight Howard and signed veteran all star point guard Steve Nash. On paper the moved sounded absolutely brilliant but actually put into practice the trio of Howard, Nash, and Kobe just didn’t mesh well offensively. Now this could be due to so little playing time together as multiple members of the starting lineup suffered injuries. Nonetheless they struggled and crawled into the playoffs as a seventh seed being swept by the Spurs in the first round.
The Lakers woes continued into 2013 as legendary owner Dr. Jerry Buss passed away due to cancer at age 80 and the franchise was then inherited to his two children, Jim and Jeanie Buss. The two would have several clashes over the years over how the franchise should be ran.
For several years the Lakers made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Multiple losing seasons, including a 17-65 season (worst in franchise history) incompetent leadership in the front office, giving an aged Kobe Bryant a terrible contract and too many minutes, the Nick Young/Iggy Azalea/ D’Angelo Russell fiasco, and who could forget the absolutely ludicrous deals they awarded to Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgoz.
The Lakers were a laughingstock around the league but then in February of 2017 everything changed. Jeanie Buss fired her brother Jim and also longtime GM Mitch Kupchak and showtime was back. Earvin Magic Johnson, the greatest Laker of them all was brought in to be president of basketball operations and suddenly Laker nation had a reason to rejoice again.
Magic’s first major move as president was to decide the style of play the lakers would implement. He envisions a free flowing offense with lots of ball movement and spacing and the perfect player to run that system is the one and only Lonzo Ball.
Seemingly preparing to confirm what everyone already knew, he traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov making room for Lonzo to come in and run the team and getting rid of the awful contract of Mozgov. Then with the 2nd pick of the 2017 NBA draft he picks the once in a generational type talent that is Lonzo Ball.
Lonzo along with other young studs such as Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and the possibility of signing star forward Paul George next offseason gives Laker nation a reason to rejoice.
Lavar Ball as boisterous as he is guarantees the playoffs, and with the ongoing news that Paul George wants to be a Laker in the summer of 2018, who knows who else might decide to play in the purple and gold along with him. And for the first time, in a long time, all appears to be right in the City of Angels.