It has been a rough few years for the Los Angeles Lakers with superstar Kobe Bryant going down for three straight seasons and the franchise missing the playoffs two years in a row.
Despite the Lakers uncharacteristically struggling to get back on track, general manager Mitch Kupchak appears to still be considered among the best in the business. Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors was named NBA Executive of the Year on Friday, but Kupchak received a few votes for the award, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Golden State's Bob Myers won NBA exec of the year. Curiously, Kupchak tied for 10th, picking up a 2nd-places vote among 30 voting NBA execs.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) May 1, 2015
Although the Lakers finished the season with a franchise-worst 21 wins and missed the playoffs for the second straight year, it is hard to blame Kupchak for what seemed inevitable. The longtime general manager did what he could with what he was given this season and as a result the Lakers have an opportunity to make considerable strides forward this summer.
The best move made by Kupchak this season was without a doubt purchasing the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft from the Washington Wizards. The Lakers were able to draft Jordan Clarkson and as a result may have found a promising young guard to help the rebuilding process.
The real test for Kupchak and the Lakers brass will be improving the roster this summer. The first step will be out of their hands as they await the team’s fate in the 2015 NBA draft lottery on May 19 followed by the draft on June 25. Los Angeles will have three picks if able to keep their lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
After finding out whether they still have their lottery pick and then putting it to use on June 25, the Lakers will know what direction to take in NBA free agency. There will be plenty of big-name players available including Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe and LaMarcus Aldridge.