The Los Angeles Lakers closed out the 2016-17 NBA season Wednesday night with a loss to the Golden State Warriors, securing a 26-56 record for the year.
The season started and ended well, as the Lakers started 10-10 and finished 5-1, but it was not so good in between as the Lakers went 11-45 in their other games.
The horrid stretch in the middle of the season cost Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak their jobs, as owner Jeanie Buss decided to replace them with Laker great Magic Johnson (president of basketball operations) and former agent Rob Pelinka (general manager).
Johnson and Pelinka will have the tough challenge of turn a Laker franchise that has had four straight losing seasons in which they averaged just 22.75 wins around.
In his exit interview, Lakers forward Julius Randle put a lot of faith in Johnson and Pelinka, saying that they have a clear vision of where the want the franchise to go, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Julius Randle said he came out of his exit interview w/ Magic & Rob Pelinka feeling like there is a clear vision for this franchise.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 13, 2017
This offseason will be a big one for the Lakers organization, as like in previous years they will try to woo big-name free agents to come to Los Angeles. But this time it will be Johnson and Pelinka pitching them as opposed to Buss and Kupchak.
The Lakers rebuilding process will also be aided if they can keep their top-three protected first round pick in the upcoming draft. If they are able to do that then if gives the front office options, as it is either another young asset to build around the current young core, or could potentially be used as a trade piece to land a star like Paul George or Jimmy Butler in Los Angeles.
Regardless of how the draft plays out, it seems as if Johnson and Pelinka have a clear plan of what they want to do with the organization moving forward to return the Lakers to the perennial powerhouse that fans have been accustomed to seeing.