Feb 25, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) reacts to dunking the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Sports Illustrated recently spoke with several anonymous scouts to get the inside scoop on all 30 teams heading into the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are among the most intriguing teams heading into next season because of their young core of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Can any of the three develop into foundational stars? Two of the three? All of them? How good can they be?
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Perhaps the biggest question, however, will be just how much the trio will play.
Lakers coach Byron Scott has been known to prefer veteran players, and with the Lakers in win-now mode in theory -- despite their obvious lack of talent -- one scout worries Scott may play veterans over the young guns, which would be a mistake:
The last sentence is the most troubling. This Lakers roster is bubbling with offensive potential. Russell looks like he can eventually be an elite floor general. Randle has point forward written all over him. Clarkson is a semi-efficient gunner. And that's before mentioning Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams and Nick Young. This team can keep up with anyone offensively on any given night.
But defense is the issue. Roy Hibbert will help ... a lot. But he alone is not enough to anchor a good defense, or even an average defense at that. This roster is severely lacking in defensive talent and it will cost them games, just like it did last season.
If that's the case, it's in the franchise's best interest for Scott to let the young guys run wild and gain valuable on-court experience. The team may lose a few more games, but that will only help their cause -- they lose their 2016 first round pick to Philadelphia if it falls out of the top 3 -- if anything.