The losing days for the Los Angeles Lakers are hopefully behind them as President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are primed to lead the purple and gold back into championship contention. After four consecutive losing seasons, the Lakers have adopted a losing culture and Johnson, Pelinka, and head coach Luke Walton will no longer tolerate it.
The storied franchise finished the 2016-17 NBA season with 26 wins and 56 losses but ended the year strong by winning five of their final six games. During exit interviews, Pelinka had choice words for current and future players according to Mike Trudell of Lakers:
“It’s Pelinka’s mandate that, if guys aren’t committed to excellent, ‘they won’t be here.’ He said that message extends to himself and his staff. ‘The Lakers stand for excellence.'”
Losing will no longer be acceptable for those who have the privilege of wearing the golden armor and Pelinka is making that clear. This offseason will be his first chance to improve a flawed roster, but he is confident that the Lakers will eventually become an NBA powerhouse.
The young core of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle, and Ivica Zubac began to settle into their roles towards the end of the season and will continue to improve their games over the summer. Ingram, in particular, made the biggest strides of them all in the second half of the season and showed flashes of blossoming into a future All-Star.
Pelinka has plenty of young pieces and will hope to add a few more promising prospects in the near future should the Lakers retain their top-three protected draft pick. Lonzo Ball, a Southern California native, said that playing for the Lakers would be a dream come true and he understands Pelinka’s claim the Lakers stand for excellence.