The rebuild of one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA — the Los Angeles Lakers — has taken another step on the court with the Lakers looking to see what they have in the younger players on their roster, while telling some of their remaining veterans to take a seat and watch the action on the court.
Seeing as the Lakers are looking to get back to the top of the NBA, it makes sense for them to continue the rebuild of their franchise this season by playing the younger players as they will be the ones on the roster next season. One player who was placed on the inactive list this week was veteran forward Luol Deng.
A 12-year NBA veteran, Deng this season averaged nearly 27 minutes per game of playing time, and in the past 10 games he has played in, that number has dropped to 21 minutes per game. Deng hasn’t produced much for the Lakers this season with 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, as he’s playing below his career averages.
In a recent article by the Los Angeles Times, it has been stated that the Lakers placed Deng on the inactive list this past Friday night against the Boston Celtics. The article quotes Lakers head coach Luke Walton on the situation.
“We’re trying to get looks at all the young guys that we can,” Walton said. “He was okay with it and it was just a way to keep all the young guys active and be able to play them all.”
That is one way for the Lakers to put it, and it makes the most sense for the Lakers, because with just 19 wins and a last place spot in the Western Conference, it is 100 percent safe to say this season is all but meaningless in the NBA standings.
What is left of this season for the Lakers is seeing exactly how productive their roster can be and knowing exactly which players need to stay on the Lakers roster and which need to be playing elsewhere next season.
One player who’ll have to become the leader of the Lakers is D’Angelo Russell. He’s currently averaging 14.8 points in 27 minutes per game. Jordan Clarkson is another player to watch for the rest of the season. He’s averaging 13.9 points per game in 62 games played thus far this season.
Speaking of the Lakers head coach, Walton is also a very important piece of this rebuilding process, as he is working with not just rebuilding an NBA roster in his first season as the head coach of the Lakers, but the front office of the Lakers has changed this season, too.
USA Today wrote on the topic of Walton adjusting to all the changes being made by the Lakers this season and into the pending offseason.
“Walton knows that finding a new rhythm might take some time. With the Lakers (19-43) floundering in the standings and the focus on the continued development of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson.”
Seeing the Lakers rebuild is going to be exciting for NBA fans, and for others, it will continue to raise many questions as to who is in charge, and where will the final rebuild lead the Lakers.
Even when the Lakers are in last place, they still remain a top priority in the NBA world. As for this current version of the Lakers, it will be very fun to watch the young players improve with more playing time. It will also be very interesting to see which players are good enough to stay a part of what the “new look” Lakers are trying to achieve while rebuilding the historic NBA franchise, not just on the court, but the front office as well.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]