The Los Angeles Lakers fell just short of an enormous comeback on Sunday. After falling behind by more than 20 points to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers went on a scoring rampage, taking the lead in the fourth quarter before ultimately falling to the more experienced and talented Pelicans.
Regardless of the final result, there was a lot to like from the Lakers who were led mostly by their younger players. Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart all had strong showings in allowing LA to come back from behind. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a veteran at only 25 years old, was also instrumental in the effort.
The ability to keep playing hard and fighting into contention didn’t just catch the eyes of fans and Lakers’ coaches. It also impressed one of their opponents, Pelicans’ big man Anthony Davis:
Short of declaring Davis a #FutureLaker, it must be noted that this sort of praise from veterans across the NBA is a hugely positive sign. The Lakers are banking heavily on signing superstars in free agency in 2018. While Davis won’t be a free agent and is not likely to come to the Lakers anytime soon, the ability to convince him of the team’s potential is an ability that may be able to persuade the Paul Georges and LeBron Jameses of the world.
It’s always going to be more likely than not that the Lakers miss out on the top tier free agents at this stage of their rebuild. But it’s clear that they’re starting to turn heads across the league and that bodes well for the future if it continues.