Despite having just four players under contract for the 2014-15 season, the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t short on experience. Between Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, they have done it all. Because of that fact, the Lakers need to be on the hunt for youth and athleticism this offseason rather than the seasoned veterans some analysts have suggested.
The Lakers are in an awkward position. Half way between a rebuild and wanting to win now; pursuing the youth of the free agency can help with both aspects.
Putting a group of aging veterans together in Brooklyn didn’t work for the Nets. The youth of the Washington Wizards could have been an experienced veteran or two away from a place in the Eastern Conference Finals. Balance is key, and unless the Lakers instill more youth than they do experience this offseason, fans could be in for another mediocre season.
First of all, Jordan Hill needs to be re-signed along with Nick Young. The NBA ready Julius Randle also needs to be atop the Laker’s draft list at seven if he is still on the board. With that the Lakers have youth, athleticism and a future after this Kobe inspired championship run comes to an end.
If healthy, Bryant and Nash will play a key role in the success of the Lakers next season. Providing leadership, plenty of offense and incredible basketball IQ between the pair of them, some defense in the form of youthful exuberance is what they lack.
In a conference where all of the playoff teams that aren’t from San Antonio boast a bevy of young talent, the Lakers need to follow suit should they plan on competing through to May and June of 2015. With today’s game steering away from half-court sets and the slower pace of yesteryear, fast and athletic wing players are becoming the key to all good teams.
It’s all well and good discussing the possibility of Shawn Marion joining the team, and while he is still putting up decent numbers, he’s better suited to an already contending team, not the rebuilding Lakers.
Rebuilding is unfamiliar territory for the Lakers. Their recent history of getting the best out of young players like Trevor Ariza and Earl Clark is proof in itself that if they can bring in the right pieces this offseason, they are well equipped to mold them into future champions.