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NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – Los Angeles Lakers: Mamba Out

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers
NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS provides our NBA 2016-17 Team Previews.  Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Get a complete break down of each team. Included in the profiles are:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews now looks at

Los Angeles Lakers:

2015-16 Record: 17 – 65

Playoffs:

Missed playoffs – finished 15th in NBA Western Conference

Points Per Game: 97.3 (30th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  106.9 (27th)

Pace: 95.6 (18th )

Offensive Rank: 101.6 (29th )

Defensive Rank:  111.6 (30th)

Three Point Rank:  31.7% (30th)

Rebounds: 43.0  (21st)

Assists: 18.0 (30th)

Steals: 7.2 (23rd)

Blocks: 4.1 (24th)

Turnovers: 13.7 (11th)

Next: Future postioning - draft, free agents

Oct 19, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) is defended by Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the fourth quarter at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Unrestricted:

  • Nick Young, PO
  • Metta World Peace
  • Jose Calderon
  • Thomas Robinson

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • 2018 second round draft pick from Denver
  • 2019 second round draft pick from Chicago

Outgoing:

  • 2017 first round draft pick to Philadelphia L.A. Lakers’ 1st round pick to Philadelphia (via Phoenix) protected for selections 1-3 in 2017 and unprotected in 2018 [L.A. Lakers-Phoenix, 7/11/2012; Milwaukee-Philadelphia-Phoenix, 2/19/2015]
  • 2019 first round draft pick to Orlando
  • 2019 second round draft pick to Portland or Cleveland

Average Age of Team: 27.2 years

Next: Off Season Moves

Sep 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton (left) and forward Luol Deng (9) pose at media day at Toyota Sports Center.. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton (left) and forward Luol Deng (9) pose at media day at Toyota Sports Center.. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton (left) and forward Luol Deng (9) pose at media day at Toyota Sports Center.. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks

Round 1: Brandon Ingram (2)

Round 2: Ivica Zubac (32)

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

Unrestricted:

  • Brandon Bass
  • Metta World Peace
  • Roy Hibbert
  • Robert Sacre

Restricted:

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Exiting: 

  • Roy Hibbert 1-year, $5M
  • Brandon Bass to a 1-year minimum deal moves to Clippers
  • Robert Sacre signs summer league/training camp contract with Pelicans

Re-upping:

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Oct 19, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) during the second quarter at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 24.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 4th with 4.37 extra losses

The Lakers share the same divisional reality as the Suns with some added complications. Just three of the Lakers’ 16 back-to-backs finish at home.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Wednesday October 26th at Staples Center, Los Angeles, 10:30PM EST SEASON OPENER
  • Wednesday December 2nd at Toyota Center, Houston TX at 8PM EST
  • Wednesday March 15th at Toyota Center, Houston TX at 8PM EST

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 27th

The Snapchat (or whatever) scandal overshadowed the command Russell showed when the Lakers let him run without Kobe Bryant. He has a brainy, manipulative, stop-and-start dribble, and threads zippy, cross-court passes one step ahead of defenses. He’s going to be really good. Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. are three very different front-line prospects, and everyone is going to love Luke Walton.

Next: Team Overview

Oct 19, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Yi Jianlian (11) looks on against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Committed Salary

2016: $94,254,746 – 21st ranked

2017: $69,957,421 – 18th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard: D’Angelo Russell – 13.2 points,  3.3 assists,  3.4 rebounds

Shooting Guard:  Jordan Clarkson – 15.5 points,  2.4 ,  assists,  4.0 rebounds

Small Forward: Luol Deng – 12.3 points, 1.9 assists,  6.0 rebounds

Power Forward: Julius Randle – 11.3 points, 1.8 assists, 10.2 rebounds

Center: Timofey Mozgov – 6.3 points, 4.4 assists, 0.8 blocks

Reserves:

Guards: Jose Calderon, Marcelo Huertas

Wings: Lou Williams, Brandon Ingram, Nick Young, Metta World Peace

Bigs: TarikBlack, Ivica Zubic, Thomas Robinson, Larry Nance Jr.

Injury News:

  • Jose Calderon – strained left calf expected to miss opener

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 4, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton (right) talks with forward Brandon Ingram (left) during the second half against the Sacramento Kings at Honda Center. The Los Angeles Lakers won 103-84. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

  • Youth: it’s a bit of double headed monster in that these youngsters will make mistakes, but similarly youthful naivety can also have it’s benefits. When you have no pressure to win you can simply play.
  • Luke Walton:  This was a great signing for Los Angeles as Walton is young enough for the youngsters to relate to him and mature enough to have their respect. Walton brings a winning mentality and loads of tools especially on the offensive end. The key will be if he can get his young troop to focus on the opposite end of the floor.
  • Luol Deng: While I’m not sure the Lakers should have extended a 4 year contract to Deng he definitely is the right type of player to mentor the youth brigade in Los Angeles. Years of service in Chicago will aid in Deng teaching good defensive habits. And his time spent last season helping develop Winslow, Richardson ad Johnson should pay further dividends.

Weaknesses:

  • Youth: just as much as this is an asset it’s also a detriment. Look no further than Utah who were also among the teams unable to close out games in the last 5 minutes. While adding Deng will help the Lakers they simply don’t have enough roster pieces yet to move up.
  • Identity: Who are these Lakers? It’s a valid question given Kobe Bryant’s departure. The team has entered a new era and with it will need to determine what their identity and character is.
  • Lack of Depth: There are pieces in place to build the core around such as Russell, Ingram and Clarkson. The team added Deng, Calderon and Mozgov to help develop the youngsters, but they are several pieces away from contending.

Prediction:

For years the Lakers needed only open their door and the free agents came running. That chasm in time has closed especially with social media allowing small markets to compete with their larger counterparts. To wit, free agents are no longer impressed by recruitment pitches that focus on movie stars. Today’s NBA players want to know what the franchise’s mission is and for them to outline their long term goals.

Given this change it’s necessary the Lakers take this season to establish a new direction in the post Kobe Bryant era.

Let’s be honest this iteration of the Lakers won’t be competing for a title let alone a playoff berth. 2016-17 is solely about developing the core and establishing an identity.

For 20 seasons Lakers games centered on the inimitable Kobe Bryant. Now Luke Walton and this young squad need to rediscover who they are.  How well they accomplish those goals will determine their direction for future seasons.

 FanSided Affiliate Site: Lake Show Life

Next: Golden State Warriors 2016-17 Preview

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Make sure to check out our entire NBA preview series.

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