It’s been a while since we’ve rallied the troops here at Lakers Lounge to talk what we know best. I, P.A. called upon Nick and Corban to join the discussion. Let’s stop wasting time and get right to it. This weeks special edition of Lakers Roundtable.
D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle – Which one of those guys is going to assert himself as the teams alpha male first?
P.A: If you’ve seen this team play without D’Angelo Russell this year I think this question answers itself. Russell demands the ball when he’s on the floor and his teammates fall in line with that demand. Russell’s ability to pass and shoot make him the most dangerous threat out there right now for Los Angeles. Julius Randle isn’t far off from D’Angelo, and I think Brandon Ingram will be the best player on this squad in two years, but RIGHT NOW, this is D’Angelo’s world, we just live in it.
Nick: Russ is bar far the ALPHA MALE, hence my caps. We all know that when Lo was out at times this year, this Laker team looked unwatchable at times. When he was out this team either sank or swam depending on his presences. Hands down Lo is THAT MAN. When he’s hitting on all cylinder’s it seems like everyone else is as well. With great power comes great responsibility Russ.
Corban: I am of the opinion that D’angelo Russell will emerge as an alpha dog, just off the strength of his overall game. Of the three, not only does Russell shoot the best, but he is also the most adept at creating his own shot. Randle can take that position in spots, but his jump shot is still too much of a liability. Ingram may in time but is still very raw and needs to spend the summer honing his own shot/shot selection. Russell already leads the Lakers in scoring at 15.3 ppg, and he’s still only 22, so I can definitely see him growing into his role of the main man in L.A.
Ivica Zubac has really come on strong in the last few games. How good do you think he’ll once he fully matures and develops in the league?
P.A: The Lakers have a baby Marc Gasol, don’t @ me. He’s big, he’s strong, his post game is refined for someone his size, he can defend, he rebounds, this guy can do a bit of everything. But most importantly, Zubac has that resilient side to him, that motor just does not stop. You combine his natural abilities with the will to fight to the death, yo, the Lakers may have drafted a diamond in the rough. He will end up being the glue guy on a very talented team for the next few years, if he keeps up this pace, he could be the starting center on the leagues most talented young team.
Nick: To be frank i really feel like Zubac can be a 20 and 10 guy. We’re talking about fully developed Ivica Zubac, not a 19 year old kid which is what he is at the moment. He’s had little flashes of being able to score in bunches and he can flat out rebound. He’s also perfecting that sky hook “allegedly”. That shot is a lost art in the NBA, lets play the hypothetical for a second. If he learns that shot, the sky is the limit… Zubac is quick on his toes when in the paint, has a nice soft touch and his free throw shooting is pretty good for a 7ft 19 year undeveloped wet behind the ears big man.
Corban: I think Ivicia Zubac can become a top 10 center in the NBA, maybe even top 5. Simple. The kid is only 19 with gobs of potential and already has so many tools. Soft hands. Good footwork. Poise and savvy. All of this and he’s not even 20! I am a big fan of Zubac and love his energy and aggressiveness on the offensive end. A couple of more seasons developing, and the Lakers will have that true post presence and force in the middle that they have been lacking for years now.
If you were the head coach of the Lakers, what would your starting line up be? Who would be the 6th man? Break down your rotation.
P.A: D’Angelo Russell at PG, Jordan Clarkson at SG, Brandon Ingram at SF, Julius Randle at PF, Ivica Zubac at C. My sixth man would be Larry Nance Jr, I just LOVE his game. These are the guys the franchise is banking the future on so I want them on the floor as much as possible. I let them lose together, I let them learn together. As they go through those loses they will learn from them and use it to their advantage in the future. Plus, I think that squad is pretty deadly when those young legs are flying up and down the floor. Let the young guys free.
Nick: I’ve always wanted Ingram to start. Ingram needed to develop as quick as possible in my opinion because of how versatile he is. The more minutes and situations he’s in than the the smoother the developmental process goes being in the league.
Loading…(D’Lo) @ guard , Randle @ F, Ingram @ F, Zubac @ C, and Young @ G. I want Clarkson at the 6th because he gives that extra scoring boost from the bench and it’s his world once he’s on that floor alone with the starters resting.
Corban: If I was coach Walton, I’d have a starting lineup of Russell-Clarkson-Ingram-Randle-Zubac, with Tarik Black as the first big off the bench and Nick Young as the first wing player. We have already established that we won’t win many games the rest of the season (The Lakers have the 5th hardest schedule remaining) With that being said, this lineup puts the Lakers youngsters at the forefront, and lets them continue this accelerated development. It gives Zubac more time on the floor with the starters. It also gets Clarkson some key minutes as a starting shooting guard to determine once and for all if he is able to play that role for these Lakers. The backcourt for L.A. would be a nightmare defending opposing teams, but I really like this lineup configuration.
Let’s play GM now, what would you do with Los Angeles’ two first round picks this year? We’ll talk from the perspective that they keep the top three protected pick.
P.A: I take those two picks and bait them in the face of the Pacers until they break down and trade Paul George. If he hasn’t signed an extension by that time Pacers President Larry Bird will need to make a decision. Risk losing George in Free Agency, or, try get something tangible for him before he bolts town. Only time will tell.
Nick: Two ways i want this to go down. I either want us to either trade our pick for Paul George. Bearing that we get the okay of an extension but again nothing is ever guaranteed. Two, Possibly take Lonzo Ball with the pick. Why not have more of a loaded bench. When has having to many options ever been a bad thing. I’m not entirely sure if the Lakers want to keep Young around so we can start Ball or Clarkson. We can play with it and see what works best.
Corban: I would keep and use the picks. Why not? We’re still at least another year away from making noise in the western conference. Any trade for a star wouldn’t be enough to push the Lakers over the top right now, so L.A. should hold on to their picks and draft some good young talent to add to the promising assemblage the Lakers already have. With the logjam the Lakers have in the frontcourt L.A. could look to draft their off guard of the future and then set their sights on adding a young wing, one to come off the bench and spell Ingram (taking away Luol Deng/Corey Brewer back up minutes.) That would seem to be a proper course of action.
Final one, which move are you looking to make the most in the off season, and why? Give us your take on why that makes the Lakers better.
P.A: Once again I’m writing from the perspective that the Lakers keep the protected 1st round pick. I would dangle those two picks in front of any GM willing to listen. DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George.. However, I would make it clear to every team that the only thing on the table would be the picks, not a single piece of the team is up for grabs. With a loaded draft class this year, that may be a selling point. Los Angeles has all the leverage in the world, Magic Johnson needs to make sure he just plays his cards right. If you give up any of your young talent, you instantly get worse.
Nick: In all honesty i want PG13 to come to Lakerland. We’re missing a savvy veteran to coach up our young guys. He’s still in his prime. He could be a great asset in teaching Ingram. He could mentor him and toughen him up. Paul George has played against the best of them. He’s played in big games deciding his fate of reaching the Finals, and also played in games going past the first round of the playoffs. You can’t put a price on that kind of experience. The two would be a scary tandem together on the court.
Corban: I want the Lakers to go into this offseason seeking to change the mistakes they made during the last one. Look for any takers for Luol Deng and Timofey Mosgov, draft smart, and don’t swing for the fences in free agency. Look for younger players or even those in restricted FA like Tim Hardaway Jr; players who you may not have to break the bank for but who also possibly haven’t reached their potential, all while fitting in age wise with the timeline the Lakers currently have. I would admonish L.A. not to make any blockbuster moves. Just look to clean the slate and start fresh, the right way. A successful offseason will kick off Rob Pelinka’s “Lakers 2.0” onto the right direction on the road back to relevance.