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Lakers on the Rise

Are the Lakers LA’s Team Again?

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Lakers on the Rise

Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter on Nov. 19

Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter on Nov. 19

J. Aaron Delgado

Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter on Nov. 19

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter on Nov. 19

Michael Levitsky, Contributor

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With the Dodgers’ World Series defeat still lingering in the hearts of many, Angelenos are looking to the city’s other beloved team, the Lakers, to raise up their spirits. The Lakers currently sit on a 8-14 record. The past few years have been tough for the Purple and Gold, who went through some of their worst seasons in franchise history. Specifically, they have gone through five head coaches in only seven years, and with the retirement of all-time great Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have been looking to turn a new leaf. Last season, they hired former Laker Luke Walton as head coach. They also added Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s former agent, and legend Magic Johnson to executive positions this past summer.

Although Los Angeles has endured some rough seasons in recent years, they have been in the process of rebuilding and received the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft’s #2 overall draft pick in consecutive years. This has given the Lakers an opportunity to establish a strong core of young players that they aim to develop in the seasons to come.

Much of this excitement is due to this year’s top draft choice, Lonzo Ball. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) product, and native of Chino Hills, has arguably generated the most hype of any NBA prospect since Lebron James. Despite the hype, Ball has faced some early season struggles and harsh criticism from the media. Some journalists, such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, have already labeled him a bust.

Staff members of the University Times had the pleasure to see Lonzapalooza in action on Nov. 19 in a game against the Denver Nuggets. No sign of Ball’s struggles were evident that night, as he recorded his 2nd triple double of the season, with a stat line of 11 points, 11 assists and 16 rebounds. More importantly, the Lakers took home the victory, by a score of 127-109. Earlier this season, Ball’s first triple double made him the youngest player in NBA history to record such a feat, at 20 years and 15 days.

Despite Ball’s early struggles, he has clearly shown potential that he can compete in the NBA. However, the Laker’s current state isn’t just about Ball. Last year’s 2nd overall pick, Brandon Ingram, is developing in his second season, averaging nearly 15 points per contest this year. Also the team’s leading scorer is surprising rookie Kyle Kuzma.

The Lakers are certainly not a finished product, having ways to go before actually competing for an NBA championship. Nobody knows where this team will be in a year. Yet, with rumors of a possible superstar joining next summer, Paul George or even Lebron James, there is plenty for Lakerland to be excited about. The change will not happen overnight; Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, it seems likely that in a few years, this organization will return to prominence. After all, this is the Lakers we’re talking about.

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