Los Angeles Lakers: 2016 Preview, Offseason/Draft Recap, Outlook
Los Angeles Lakers 2016 NBA Season Preview
October 19, 2016
NBA Championship: 500/1 Over/under win total: 25.5 See the Latest Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers come into the 2016-17 season fresh off of a frustrating and disappointing 2015-16 season that saw the Lakers finish 17-65, the worst record in the franchise’s storied history, and the fewest wins since the 1958, before the team was even in Los Angeles.
Here is your 2016 Los Angeles Lakers preview.
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Key Additions: The Lakers made a pretty big splash in free agency, locking up former 2-time all-star Luol Deng to a 4-year, $72 million deal, luring him away from the Miami Heat. Deng hopes to be one of the key cogs in a new Lakers lineup after averaging 12.3 points per game over 32.4 minutes, both being his lowest average since his rookie season in 2004-05. Los Angeles also managed to snag center Timofey Mozgov from the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, signing Mozgov to a 4-year, $64 million contract of his own to be the new rim protector going forward for the Lakers. The biggest addition one could argue, is the one at the head coaching position, signing former Lakers guard and former Warriors assistant Luke Walton on April 29th, 2016. Walton could be given a bunch of credit for leading Golden State on their insane winning streak to start the 2015-16 season, as head coach Steve Kerr missed the first 43 games of the season, where Walton led the Warriors to a 39-4 mark at that time. Only time will tell if Walton can bring the Lakers back to prominence in the Western Conference.
Key Losses: The biggest subtraction from last year’s team has to be future hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant who had been a Laker since being traded on draft night in 1996. Bryant won 5 championships, was a finals MVP twice and league MVP in 2008. Kobe was an all-star a ridiculous 18 times, a 2-time scoring champion and made 27 all-NBA teams. The Lakers will surely miss Kobe as he rides off into the sunset. As far as active players go, the Lakers said goodbye to big man Roy Hibbert who signed a 1-year, $5 million deal with the Hornets after it was clear that both sides wanted to move forward with Hibbert seeing a drop in playing time and L.A. signing Timofey Mozgov.
Breaking Down the Draft: With the Lakers 17-65 finish, that gave L.A. the best chance to finish with the 2nd overall pick, which they did and used to select Duke freshman small forward Brandon Ingram. Ingram helped Duke reach the round of 16 before falling to top-seeded Oregon, despite 24 points from Ingram. Ingram finished the year with 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. Ingram had a spectacular season that saw him finish in the top 3 among Duke’s all-time freshman leaders in scoring where he finishes 3rd, and 2nd all-time in 3-pointers and 20-point games.
Outlook: This Lakers team has pulled together a bunch of pieces that could show some major improvement over last year’s squad, including the possible frontrunner for rookie of the year. However Coach Walton has his work cut out for him in his debut season, but there’s promise here.
Projected Record: 28-54