The Los Angeles Lakers are a young team with exploding potential. Throughout this season, we have seen flashes of brilliance from the young core that have revitalized Laker Nation. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma, an interesting young core, have made their marks on the season. All three young players have shown they have the ability to be special players in this league.
Los Angeles Lakers Young Core Has a Bright Future
The Kevin Durant Doppelganger
Brandon Ingram, after a rocky rookie season, has solidified himself as the go-to scorer and closer for the Lakers this year. Five out of the last NBA six champions have had a dominant small forward greatly impact the series. Standing at 6’9″, Ingram has the ability to finish in traffic and be a defensive stopper with his length. Most impressive this year is his improved shooting numbers, as he’s averaging 16.1 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. Ingram has slowly showed that he can be a leader for many years to come for this team. In a league filled with talented small forwards, Ingram has the ability to be “that guy” for the Lakers.
Kyle Kuzma has been a scoring dynamo off the bench for the Lakers. He has scored 20 or more in 26 games this season; in four of those games, he went for 30 or more. Kuzma also became the first rookie in NBA history to record 1,200+ points, 450+ rebounds, and 150+ three-pointers in a season. He has a polished offensive game that ranges from the three-point line all the way to his signature running sky hook, which he uses in the paint. Most importantly, Kuzma displays a no-fear attitude when playing in big games. Kuzma is not only fearless under the bright lights of L.A., but he also has the confidence to perform in the spotlight.
Lonzo Ball has been the subject of much scrutiny this year. Many people have labeled him as a bust because of his below average shooting numbers. The fact of the matter is that there is much more to Ball than his shooting numbers. Ball is a walking triple double. In fact, in a game against Milwaukee earlier this season, he became the youngest player ever to record a triple double. His average stat line of 10-7-7 has only been done by three players ever in their rookie year. Maybe you’ve heard of them: Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Ben Simmons. Ball is a complete player — he leads the Lakers in assists and steals, and he’s second in rebounds and blocks. Ball’s pass-first style of play makes him easy to play with and rubs off on teammates. Ball may not exhibit the outgoing, headstrong personality of his father or the charisma of Magic Johnson. One thing is for certain, though: he can run a team, and the Lakers are better with him as the conductor.
With a promising young core, the Lakers are a prime free agent destination spot. There have been some talks to move a young piece or two to acquire already established stars. The Lakers should pump the breaks on that. They should keep this young core together and see what they can blossom into. Remember, we will never know what could have been in OKC with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook on one team. Now, that’s not to say that these young players will ever be as good as those MVP-caliber players. But the Lakers don’t want to be the NBA’s next great “what if.” The Lakers young core will be special in this league, so let’s just sit back and enjoy the journey.
Kyle Kuzma is part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ young core. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)