Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes expressed confidence not only in the current direction of the front office, but in this team’s chances to at least compete for a playoff spot in a tough Western Conference during this recent video provided courtesy of Time Warner Cable Sportsnet:
I know last year [21-61 W/L] was hard, hard…you know, we’re not used to that in ‘Laker Land,” former Los Angeles Lakers player Jamaal Wilkes told TWC SportsNet in a recent video released by the station. “I have every confidence in Mitch [Kupchak], and I have every confidence in the Buss family. We have to understand we’re going from arguably one of the greatest owners in all of sports. You know, his children, there’s an adjustment period and I think Jim Buss is trying to learn and will learn.”
Wilkes makes an excellent point regarding the natural and expected adjustment period that takes place whenever a long-standing leader is replaced, especially when you consider the circumstances and just how much the late Dr. Buss meant to the organization, to the city of Los Angeles and to the NBA as a whole.
I think the draft choices, I believe that based on what Mitch, what they’re saying, what Kobe [Bryant] has said about D’Angelo [Russell]..that’s a great choice,” Wilkes continued. “I think they’ve made trades that have been good. Now, they have to play…but I think their chances to make the playoffs are very real.”
Wilkes also went on to remind us of another lottery pick’s return in power forward Julius Randle when considering how much talent the front office and coaching staff will have to work with. When you factor in the acquisitions of center Roy Hibbert, power forward Brandon Bass and shooting guard Lou Williams with the additions of each young piece these Lakers are also returning to the court with, Wilkes’ optimism over the future of the Lakers is completely understandable.
As Wilkes mentioned, we’ll have to see how all of the pieces are utilized and just how well they fit together, but there should be no question as to whether the roster has improved. Things would seemingly have to break dramatically well and in their favor in order to actually qualify for the postseason in what is anticipated as being another gauntlet of Western Conference playoff race. Time will tell just how quickly the coaching staff is able to get them to jell together, but the overall measure of success for this team should actually be determined by the progress of the young core.