In all his years as the general manager of the Los Angeles since taking over for his mentor Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak may be facing his toughest challenge yet. Kupchak and company must pick up the pieces from arguably the worst season in franchise history and put together a team that can at the very least make a run at the playoffs in the Western Conference.
In a recent interview on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Kupchak talked about the biggest challenge the Lakers brass will face heading into what will be a crucial offseason for the storied franchise:
“The number one challenge this offseason is to improve the talent level,” Kupchak said in an interview with Chris McGee of Time Warner Cable SportsNet. “I’d like to get to the point where our team plays exciting basketball. There’s growth, not so much day-to-day, but week-to-week, and as the season goes on you build some excitement and hope for the future.”
The team’s success in improving the talent level of the roster all starts on May 17 in the NBA Draft Lottery. The lottery will determine the Lakers’ fate regarding whether they’ll be able to retain their first-round draft pick. If their pick ends up out of the top three selections, Los Angeles will have to hand it over to the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of the Steve Nash trade.
If the Lakers retain their pick, the team will have plenty of options to explore. There’s been a lot speculation about the team’s intentions with their pick with rumors floating around about Los Angeles possibly trading their lottery pick along with other assets to acquire a proven star like Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins.
After the NBA Draft on June 23, with the Lakers either trading their pick or drafting a potential star in Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram if able to keep the draft choice, the team’s front office will turn their attention to NBA free agency. Once free agency gets underway on July 1, the Lakers will be as busy as any other team in the league as they attempt to lure All-Star-caliber players like Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, and DeMar DeRozan.
With the right stroke of luck in the draft lottery, Kupchak will have the opportunity to make something happen during the offseason. Whether the team makes the right moves and drastically improves the roster remains to be seen.