With 13 games remaining in the 2015-16 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are focusing on Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour and the development of their young core.
Since All-Star break, head coach Byron Scott has given D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson an opportunity to play major minutes. While they have recently struggled, the young core has shown their potential as the Lakers prepare for the post-Kobe era.
The Lakers could take another major step in their rebuild process this off-season if they are able to keep their top-three protected pick (via Steve Nash trade). One of the top prospects in this year’s draft is LSU’s Ben Simmons and he has officially declared according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
Hardly earth-shattering — Ben Simmons told ESPN he is headed to the NBA: https://t.co/kWpTDZOF4P
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 21, 2016
Simmons is moving to Arizona where he will prepare for the NBA Draft:
Ben Simmons has left LSU, will move to Arizona and prepare for the NBA draft there.
— LegionNBA (@MySportsLegion) March 22, 2016
For most of the season, Simmons was considered to be this year’s top prospect. However, Duke’s Brandon Ingram has surpassed him in some mock drafts.
For the Lakers, they currently have a 55 percent chance of keeping their pick this season. Should Los Angeles be able to land in the top-three, it will provide them an opportunity to reunite Russell and Simmons, who played together in high school.