Mapping Out The Los Angeles Lakers’ Long Road Back To NBA Title Contention

My, how the mighty have fallen.

Regarded as one of the most iconic and successful franchises in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently embroiled in its worst three-year span in team history. As Kobe Bryant concludes his illustrious career this upcoming April, a new era will be ushered in – likely focusing around the young trio of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson.

Nice pieces? Yes.

Talented players with some upside? Sure.

Future superstars to build the franchise around? That surely remains to be seen.

Whether Laker fans want to admit it or not, there’s immense ambiguity surrounding the franchise presently. The ongoing saga between Jim and Jeanie Buss has uprooted a respected front office into one stewing in turmoil. The inability to draw a marquee free agent certainly hasn’t helped matters, either.

With the respective cap space around the league soaring due to the NBA’s new TV deal, money will be thrown around this offseason like confetti at a surprise party. Early projections figure to see 20 NBA franchises with ample cap space. As such, the free agent pool may dry up rather quickly.

Moreover, it makes the Lakers’ draft hopes in ’16 even more important.

As currently constituted, the Lakers have the second-worst record in the NBA. In theory, LA will be primed to add another young piece to its preexisting collection of talent. However, the pick will revert to Philadelphia if it falls outside of the top 3. It’d be a considerable blow – especially when looking at how bleak things have become.

But let’s assume the Lakers get to keep their top-3 protected first-round pick…

Source: SB Nation