Darius Soriano has high hopes for Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram (pictured), who figures to see his role increase as Luke Walton focuses on his team’s young core (Zach Frailey/Flickr).
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The Los Angeles Lakers have a new president of basketball operations and general manager, as first-year head coach Luke Walton leads a youthful squad headlined by lottery picks from the past three drafts, Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. At this critical juncture for the team, Forum Blue & Gold Editor-in-Chief Darius Soriano stops by to break down the biggest storylines for LA’s present and future.
2:44-3:43: Sadly, the biggest Lakers-related news this season happened off the court with last week’s management shakeup:
“The writing was sort of on the wall once Magic [Johnson] was hired as an adviser to Jeanie Buss…The timing of it, though, was awkward and just the way it was handled, I thought, was rough for everyone involved…I’m sort of intrigued by the [Rob] Pelinka aspect, and I think the Magic Johnson thing – I don’t want to say ‘cautiously optimistic.’ I’m more along the lines of ‘I’m just sort of hanging back and waiting to see how things go.’ Magic’s very well respected in the business world, and obviously he was an amazing player. We’ll see how all of that translates that to a final decision-maker on the basketball side [for the Lakers].”
Despite recent turmoil in the organization, LeBron James seems poised to reach his sixth straight NBA Finals appearance, second in a row with the Cavaliers (Keith Allison/Flickr).
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Nearly two weeks ago, the best team in the Eastern Conference fired its head coach. Conrad Kaczmarek, former editor of SB Nation’s Fear the Sword, makes an appearance to discuss the state of those Cleveland Cavaliers. Although they still boast the conference’s best record and are showcasing electric offense under newly named lead man Tyronn Lue, minor weaknesses are discussed. Also, Conrad explores the instrumental play of Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson as well as LeBron James’ impact on personnel decisions.
5:55-7:00: “Even though [LeBron James] is a monster in transition, his teams are never high-pace teams… I think the tendency for a lot of his teams is for them to slow it down, play in the half court, and let LeBron do his thing, which works great a lot of the time… I think there’s a lot being talked about with Tyronn Lue trying to push the pace and have them play at a faster pace, but the numbers don’t really bear that out in the first six games that they’ve played. They’re pretty much playing at the same pace if not a little bit slower at times.”
11:25-12:20: “When Kevin Love is not hitting the wide open shots that they’re getting him, they have a tendency to lose confidence in him pretty quickly… They have a tendency of doing that too much and getting away from Kevin, then he struggles to get into a rhythm later. So I think it’s definitely a process still – this core has not been around together for very long – but I think that’s the next big step: that when Kevin hits a little bit of a shooting slump, they need to resist the urge to go away from him… They need to keep it in the flow, keep running the same stuff and just trust that these are really good players… and the shots are going to fall eventually.”