The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors are in the conversation for greatest NBA team of all-time, and it certainly appears that the Dubs will be the class of the league for the foreseeable future. And that has caused the Los Angeles Lakers to rethink their rebuilding approach.
The Lakers went 26-56 this past season and haven’t made the NBA playoffs since 2013. But while many franchises would be scrambling to acquire a superstar like Jimmy Butler or Paul George, the Lakers are going to be patient due to the Warriors’ dominance.
“I joke a lot. I said ‘if there’s a time to be rebuilding, this is the time to do it,'” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said on Bleacher Report’s “The Full 48” podcast, as transcribed by CBS Sports. “The Warriors don’t look like they’re going anywhere for a while. They’re pretty darn good right now.”
Since one superstar won’t allow the Lakers to challenge the Warriors, Walton and the Lakers are planning on being patient with their young stars, rather than selling their future for a marquee name.
“My only caution would be let’s not give up too much of our young core for one superstar because, like we just talked about before, let’s not forget that those Golden State Warriors are just a little bit north of us and it’s going to take a lot more than one superstar to dethrone them from the West.
“There’s that fine line in trying to get there quicker rather than developing our own guys. I think Rob (Pelinka) and Magic (Johnson) are very aware of that. They’re constantly looking at the best way to get us to be a true contender, not just on paper.”
The Lakers probably are three years away from being a Western Conference contender. They currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and the addition of Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum to Los Angeles’ talented, young nucleus likely would set them up to be very successful in a few years.
If the Lakers were to sell some of their young players for George or Butler, however, it would put them in the conversation to be a lower-tier playoff team with a low ceiling, and not much more.
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