Heisler: Trusting ‘The Process,’ Lakers style, agonizing as it is
By Mark Heisler
Trusting the process … Lakers style.
Not that anyone has to tell you this will take a while since it already has.
You’ll know they’re getting closer when Lonzo Ball starts making 33 percent of his 3-point attempts. Of course, he’s at 25 percent and has to reach 30 percent first.
And not that Magic Johnson’s dream is impossible. With all contending teams expected to be capped out, LeBron James, the free agent Earvin has in mind, has no obvious place to go.
LeBron’s options are thought to be limited to: 1) return to Cleveland for a year; 2) Philadelphia, if LeBron and the 76ers decide they want to go that way; 3) the Lakers, if Magic can make them look good enough; and 4) Team X, which won’t surface as a possibility until season’s end.
In the meantime, the Lakers must win enough to look respectable while developing players … with minimal shooting (No. 29 in 3-pointers made, No. 30 in 3-point accuracy) that leaves them No. 3 in possessions but No. 28 in points per possession … and half the roster, including still-coming Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, earmarked to be discarded to create salary-cap space.
Randle, their toughest, most physical player, doesn’t shoot well enough for a pace-and-space offense but got over his early-season pout to become their energy guy off the bench, even if they didn’t pick up his option like Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance and everyone knows he’ll be the first to go. So hats off to Julius.
The Lakers’ rebuilding program dates to 2014 when they got Randle at No. 7, followed by three consecutive No. 2 picks – D’Angelo Russell, Ingram and Ball … leaving them far behind Minnesota, which got Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and Philadelphia with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
No, the problem wasn’t […]