Before the 2016 season began, Los Angeles Lakers Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss spoke about hoping to find a number of core players on the roster. Though the Lakers won only 17 games, there were definitely some players who stood out as significant parts of the future in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle.
Those three are widely considered the young core of the Lakers and have a ton of potential to grow over the next couple of years.
In an interview with Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, Buss named those three, as well as a couple of other players, as building blocks for the future:
The Lakers have developing prospects D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson will be a restricted free agent in July, but the team expects him to re-sign. Buss also listed forward Larry Nance Jr. and veteran guard Lou Williams as building blocks for the future.
Buss also spoke about a couple of other Lakers role players who he believes can contribute as well:
“I like Marcelo [Huertas], I think in the right system he might be a good fit […] And Tarik Black, I like him. He could be a rotational player,” said Buss of the second-year forward, yet another potential restricted free agent.
Russell, Randle, and Clarkson are always looked at as part of the future, and Nance Jr. has definitely put himself into that conversation as well with his play this past season. All of those players are under 23 years old and have room to grow. Buss mentioning Lou Williams is something of a surprise, but he did play well and the Lakers like what he brings to the table both on and off the court.
It was also nice to see Buss mention players like Black and Huertas who did well in limited roles. Everyone can’t be a star, and those two could be solid role players for the team in the future.
Now is the time for the Lakers to begin adding to this core with great veterans who can help take this team to the next level. The team has been linked to a number of different players both via trade, and free agency. Hopefully, the team will be successful this summer in bringing in some new talent.