Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has kept himself plenty busy since the team’s worst season in franchise history reached its conclusion on a bright note with Kobe Bryant tallying another 60-point performance for the road.
Since then, the Lakers replaced Byron Scott with Luke Walton as their 26th head coach in franchise history and have started their preparation for the 2016 NBA Draft.
Their entire draft situation is yet to be determined. The Lakers will have to wait until Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery for that to unfold, but that has not stopped them from exploring all of their options anyways. Los Angeles has interviewed some of the top candidates in this year’s draft class and scheduled workouts with a few players projected to be available at the very end or even after the draft.
Either way, the Lakers will, barring a trade, add another young player to the roster with the No. 32 pick in the draft. If they are lucky, they can bring in a top-three pick along with it.
The draft combined with free agency in July will be major resources the Lakers hope to take advantage of in an effort to improve a roster that won just 17 games this season. Adding more talent for Walton is Kupchak’s top priority this summer, but he has expectations for the team next season that go beyond any stat sheet or win column.
In an interview with Chris McGee from Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Kupchak stated that he wants the Lakers to play an exciting brand of basketball in their 2016-17 campaign.
“I’d like to get to the point where our team plays exciting basketball,” Kupchak said. “A lot depends on the players that we bring in this summer, if we are lucky enough to bring in players.”
Kupchak noted that even if the Lakers are unable to bring in difference-making talent, the team should be better because of the expected improvement of the young players. What does he want from those players besides the growth and development? He wants them to force the rest of the league to take notice.
“I do want to get to the point where we feel our team is fun to watch, exciting to watch, and people say, ‘You know something? That team is going to be even better next year.'”
With Walton coming over and attempting to implement a similar style of play that the Golden State Warriors run, the Lakers have one of the best guys for the job in those regards. Walton is young with a tremendous amount of upside, just like his young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Jr. and soon-to-be restricted free agent Jordan Clarkson.
Once Walton was officially hired as the new head coach of the Lakers, buzz started to build once again in Los Angeles. Fans are excited, yet anxious for the events that could happen this offseason.
With Bryant riding off into the sunset and Scott’s tenure coming to an end, a new era is under way for the purple and gold. Fans are already excited, now it’s up to the front office to build a roster that can carry out that exhilaration on the court next season.
All quotes transcribed via Time Warner Cable SportsNet.