Over the past calendar year for the Los Angeles Lakers there have been a number of major changes to the franchise. The first big one came when the team hired Luke Walton to be the new head coach. Arguably the biggest however, was Jeanie Buss firing her brother Jim, and placing Magic Johnson as the president of basketball operations.
The move signaled a huge shift for the Lakers franchise and Magic, along with new general manager Rob Pelinka, has been hard at work trying to turn around the team. The Lakers have some potential with a number of promising young players on the roster, but it is still a question as to whether any of them will become a true star.
That belief is something that is shared by Johnson, at least when he originally took the job. While appearing on the Open Run Podcast with Jesse Williams and Stefan Marolachakis, Jeanie said that she asked Johnson who he would build the team around, and his answer wasn’t a player:
“I think that he has a vision of what he wants to accomplish with basketball. The type of players that he wants to come and play. That very first night I asked him who he would build the team around. He thought about it for a second and he said, ‘I don’t know if you have the player yet.’ He goes, ‘I would build the team around Luke.’”
The front office clearly has a ton of belief in Walton as the team’s head coach. Pelinka has said that he believes Walton is a championship-level coach and Magic’s statement to Jeanie when he first took the job basically echoes that sentiment.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Magic still believes that the Lakers don’t have a future star on their roster as this comment was made when he first took the job back in February. After the All-Star Break a number of young Lakers looked much-improved.
Brandon Ingram stands out most as someone who looked like a future star, but D’Angelo Russell and Ivica Zubac also showed serious potential while Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and Julius Randle had excellent moments as well. Now the question is simply if anyone will actually make it to that level.