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The upcoming Los Angeles Lakers’ season has fans excited for a variety of reasons. A new era in the front office is being ushered in by a new era on the court in the form of Lonzo Ball.
Paired with an exciting young core of Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, among others, and the Lakers are entering an exciting time.
With that in mind and with the season closing in, we decided to offer up some predictions and hot takes heading into the new season.
Who will be the Lakers’ MVP this season?
Dillon Hiser – Brook Lopez. The entire Lakers offense is dependent on Lopez being consistent and on the court. Without him, they lack a true go-to scorer and a big that can be relied on to stretch the floor, which is a staple in Luke Walton’s offense.
Sheen Lee – Lopez. We’ll marvel at how much better Lopez is at basketball than the rest of the team. The only other player in LA who’s near his quality level is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Kendrew Abueg – Lopez. As it stands right now, Lopez is the best player that the Lakers have. I firmly believe that his presence will make a huge impact for not only Ball but also his frontcourt partner, whether it be Julius Randle or Larry Nance, Jr. His ability to score in the low post as well as operating in a pick-and-roll and even a three-pointer, Lopez will be the player the Lakers look to for offense.
Deanna Chapman – Lopez. If you look at the Lakers’ roster, it’s hard to say it could be anyone else. Most of the players are young guys who are still getting their footing in the league. Lopez and his play are going to be one of the biggest factors in how well the Lakers do this season.
Jacob Rude – Tyler Ennis. Just kidding it’s Lopez. If you want to take the acronym literally, the most VALUABLE player, you could make an argument for Ball, but Lopez is the best player on this team and it’s not close.
Who will be the Lakers’ Most Improved Player this season?
Hiser – Brandon Ingram. I think this is kind of a no-brainer here, his rookie season was pretty atrocious save for the last few months. Ingram will play a bigger role this season and likely take some strides towards being a great NBA player.
Lee – I’m going with Luol Deng. Deng won’t ever make up the value of his contract but the veteran forward still has life in him and could provide some solid minutes at the four.
Abueg – Julius Randle. Last year he finally showed that he was capable of assisting as his per-game average went from 1.8 to 3.6 last year. Based on what he showed in the preseason (where I thought he was the best player despite the Kyle Kuzma hype) he’s still very capable of running the floor after a rebound, showed off a midrange shot, and finished a few shots with his right hand.
His defense has improved quite a bit since his sophomore season in the league as well. With Luke even deploying him as a center in the preseason, I’m looking forward to the versatility that Randle can bring to the team.
Chapman – Ingram. In a sense, it feels like Lakers fans just need it to be Ingram in this category. His rookie season wasn’t something to be super excited about. Plus, if he makes this step, the Lakers will feel more inclined to keep him in the long run.
Rude – As Deanna said, the Lakers need it to be Ingram, but I think it’ll be Randle. Players in a contract year generally player harder and better and Randle has shown that during the preseason. Whether it’s as simple as being in-shape or if he’s really become motivated this summer, I think Randle will take a leap this year.
Who will be the Lakers’ top scorer this season?
Hiser – Lopez. Again, the team lacks true scoring ability due to its inexperience. Lopez will be a stabilizing force down low and provide a good pick & pop option on offense.
Lee – How does everything you do not go through Lopez? Ball will always be pass-first and Ingram isn’t there yet. Lopez’s role as leading scorer hasn’t changed even if his employer has.
Abueg – Lopez. Once again he is the best Lakers player on offense, can score well in the post and somehow turned into a three-point threat last season.
Chapman – Lopez. With Ball running point, Lopez is going to be getting pass after pass. He might not have been the top scorer in the preseason, but that’s also when you play some of the younger guys more to see who will make the cut anyway. The Lakers need Lopez to have a strong presence on offense.
Rude – For the sake of an argument, I’ll toss a nod to KCP. Lopez probably will finish as the top scorer, but if KCP can ingrain himself into the offense, he has a darkhorse chance of leading the team in scoring.
What is one hot take you have for this Lakers season?
Hiser – The Lakers will be top 20 defensively.
Lee – Randle won’t be a Laker after the trade deadline.
Abueg – The Lakers are going to regret trading D’Angelo Russell and not Ingram.
Chapman – The Lakers will realize Clarkson is being paid a ton of money to come off of the bench and try to trade him again.
Rude – Larry Nance will be traded by the deadline.
What is your prediction for the Lakers’ record this season?
Hiser – 35-47
Lee – 29-53
Abueg – 33-49
Chapman – 36-46
Rude – 96-0, playoffs included. For the sake of hedging my bet, 28-54.