As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready for camp, the team’s roster is beginning to take shape. The off-season has been eventful, from the NBA draft to winning the NBA Summer League. A young Lakers roster has its sights set on the playoffs, but maybe winning 30 games is a good start. After all, last season proved getting ahead of yourself doesn’t work out so well. This season, the team has the talent to potentially reel in a few awards. The Lakers awards chances have improved greatly from last season, with the team adding key players in several areas.
Los Angeles Lakers 2017-18 NBA Season Awards Chances
Lonzo Ball – Rookie of the Year
Lonzo Ball is a player with hefty expectations on his shoulders. The No.2 overall pick had a great Summer League and heads into the season full of confidence. As you would guess, Ball will be in the mix for the Rookie of the Year award. Alongside Markelle Fultz and Josh Jackson, Ball will play a key role for his team, giving him an edge over most of the rookie class. As a pass-first point guard, he will be responsible for running the Lakers offense, this could lead to regular 10 plus assists games.
The new face of the franchise, Ball has the talent and the vision to have a superb season. However, the likes of Fultz, Jackson and even De’Aaron Fox should all fight for the award, but who has the advantage?
With the Sacramento Kings and Pheonix Suns facing an uphill battle talent wise, it seems we have another Fultz vs Ball discussion. Fultz’s campaign is reliant on his teammate’s health. If Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons stay healthy, so does Fultz ROTY hopes. Ball, on the other hand, has talent and plenty of it. Despite still being a young team, the Lakers have a much-improved roster. Ball has weapons around him, certainly enough to win the award.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Most Improved Player
After a disappointing fourth year in the NBA, Caldwell-Pope will look to have a breakout year with the Lakers. Set to start at the two-guard spot, he will be a key player for the team. An ideal complement to Ball, his defensive ability should help the Lakers greatly. An improved points average will help him in his efforts this coming season, but does the former Pistons guard have a shot at the Most Improved Player award?
If there’s one thing Caldwell-Pope has over your favorite shooting guard, it’s endurance. Missing just 14 games over four seasons in Detroit, he’s a player who can be relied on. Searching for his big break, Caldwell-Pope is one big year away from being a household name. Now playing alongside Ball, Brandon Ingram and others, maybe this is his year. One thing is for sure, that big year needs to come sooner rather than later, with free agency on the horizon.
Jordan Clarkson – Sixth Man of the Year
The Lakers awards chances rest mainly on Jordan Clarkson. Set to enter his fourth year, Clarkson needs a big year. Surrounded by trade speculation, his future will be decided by his performances. Last season, Clarkson averaged over 14 points off the bench, this shouldn’t change. After trading Lou Williams last season, Clarkson looks set to be the Lakers new sixth man. Williams thrived in the role last year and was a leading candidate to win the Sixth Man of the Year award before the trade. If Clarkson can replicate Williams’ form, he is no doubt a frontrunner to win the award.
Julius Randle – Most Improved Player
In what is likely the Lakers most curious situation, Julius Randle enters the new season in desperate need of a breakout year. Injury ruined his rookie year and the past two seasons have been average at best, but Randle has the ability to do more. Lack of concentration and one-handedness often holds Randle back, with those his two biggest weaknesses. Working hard this off-season, Randle is looking to improve in two areas. Shooting and ambidexterity are key areas, with the team hoping the improvement shows.
To be named Most Improved Player of the Year, Randle must prove he can adapt. The modern NBA leaves players like Randle struggling to make an impact, this has to change. Winning this award would be a huge moment in Randle’s career.
This young team still has a lot of growing to do. The Los Angeles Lakers awards chances are respectable, with the talent on display greater than last season. Fun, exciting, unpredictable; This season is sure to be all three for Luke Walton’s team.
LOS ANGELES, USA – JANUARY 08 : Jordan Clarkson (L) of Los Angeles Lakers in action against Nikola Vucevic (C) of Orlando Magic during a NBA game between Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA on January 08, 2017. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)