An anonymous NBA scout previews the Lakers for the 2017-16 season.
"They’ll be the worst team in the West and bottom-three overall with Brooklyn and Philadelphia. … The best-case scenario for them is that Russell becomes a high-level starter, Ingram is in the Rookie of the Year mix, and they get a clear sense for how Randle fits into their long-term plans. All of those things could happen and they still might not win 25 games. … Keeping their pick again would be huge for turning this around into a playoff team again. … From a style perspective, the Lakers should change more than any other team with Kobe retiring and Walton taking over for Scott. They’ll play fast, move the ball, take more threes, less isolation plays and a lot more opportunity for their young prospects. … Russell is their most important player. The style shift will work if he makes it work and it will fail if he’s not quite ready. I think he’s ready for a breakout. He is an electric player when he’s playing well: he can score, shoot and set others up. He has the talent and confidence to be an All-Star, but that’s a long way off. He’s like a redshirt freshman because Bryant dominated everything. … Clarkson is only a starter if you’re a lottery team. He’s a one-trick pony scorer. He has blinders on and isn’t much of a passer. He’ll take bad shots. Playing him and Russell together defensively is a mess. … I’m not a Randle fan so I would just start Ingram and Deng together and see what happens. Throw Ingram into the fire. He’s the No. 2 pick. Why baby him? … The Kevin Durant comparisons are unfair to Ingram and I would have taken both Ben Simmons and Kris Dunn over Ingram. He will float a lot this year, his lack of strength will hurt him, and he needs to tighten up his handle. … Maybe Walton sees Randle as a Draymond Green type. He can dribble but can he make the reads? Randle definitely plays hard, which is a skill, but otherwise there’s a lot of work to do. He can’t really shoot it and he’s not the best finisher. He’s easy to guard. … Randle looks like a sixth man to me. … I love Deng. He’s really good. They should make Deng a stretch four role and clear things out for Ingram. Down the road, maybe they can trade him to a playoff team or shift him into a reserve role. He might only spend half of his contract with them. … Mozgov wasn’t the best center out there but beggars can’t be choosers. I think the Lakers saw him as attainable and an upgrade over Hibbert so they rushed to pay him. They had a huge hole. Going from Kareem and Shaq to Mozgov is the type of thing that will make Lakers fans roll their eyes. … Even with Mozgov and Deng, they’ll be the worst defensive team in the league."