While the Los Angeles Lakers sit well under the .500 mark despite winning three of their last five games, the once heralded franchise could be on the upswing sooner rather than later. Due to their abundance of young talent, the Lakers may return to the postseason ahead of schedule.
Although that notion is partially due to the fact that the second half of the Western Conference is quite weak this season, the Lakers currently sit just three games outside of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
“If you made a list of the 20 best players who are 22 or under, I think you’d have to have all three of the Lakers’ young guys on there,” said one scout, via the Sporting News, regarding the up-and-coming franchise. “They’re three of the best young guys in the league. There’s really not a lot of teams can say that, and I think a lot of mediocre teams would like to swap rosters with the Lakers right now.”
The aforementioned trio would be 19-year-old big man Brandon Ingram, 20-year-old point guard D’Angelo Russell and 22-year-old forward Julius Randle. However, the Lakers may be looking to move even faster toward the future as the team has been linked to Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Nerlens Noel and Atlanta Hawks’ All-Star forward Paul Millsap.
“They had talks with Atlanta about Paul Millsap and expressed interest in Nerlens Noel, if the Sixers decide to go ahead with a deal for him,” wrote Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. “But the best asset the Lakers can put forth is a future draft pick, probably not until 2021 depending on how the lottery plays out this May. That’s going to limit their activity on the market, and there is a chance they could even be a seller with a veteran such as Luol Deng.”