A Wheeler’s Opinion: 3 Reasons Why the Lakers will Improve this Season

A Ball, A KuzMazing Steal and more…

The dynamic duo of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma will bring good things for the Lakers. 
Ever since the possibility of Lonzo Ball coming to the Purple and Gold was hyped up, many of the Laker fans around the world had their hopes went high especially considering how talented Lonzo is in his lone playing year in UCLA. 
And right after picking up Ball as the 2nd pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers also received the rights to pick Kyle Kuzma as the 27th pick after acquiring the rights from the Brooklyn Nets which also landed them another star big man in Brook Lopez. 
While Lonzo Ball is beyond reasonable doubt, the main attraction in the Lakers nowadays, who would have thought that Kyle Kuzma is a hidden treasure in the draft, someone whom the Nets sorely missed?
Let this basketball pundit break the good things that will bring more success to the Lakers this season and beyond:

Lonzo Ball

Let’s start with the most obvious one. After averaging 14 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists with UCLA, Lonzo Ball made sure that his presence was felt as he averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists while playing in 8 games during the Summer League in Las Vegas- a competition which the Lakers won. Oh and one more thing, Lonzo Ball bagged the MVP award during the Summer League, too.
Although his numbers had dropped the moment the preseason games began when he only played in two games before he was shut down due to an injury, we can expect him to be healthy and ready to rumble come the opening night. 

KuzMazing Steal from the Draft

While Lonzo Ball may be the most hyped rookie entering the 2017-2018 season, probably the most hyped rookie in the history of the NBA,  many are already saying that Kyle Kuzma will become the face of the Lakers and not Lonzo Ball, or Brandon Ingram, or even Julius Randle. 
This claim is backed by Kuzma’s numbers in the preseason games of the Lakers when he averaged close to 20 points and 3 assists while making 56% of his shot attempts in 27 minutes of action. This will cost some of the veterans in the rotation of Luke Walton their playing minutes because Kuzma is actually playing better alongside Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle despite losing tons of their games during the preseason. 
If anything, Kyle Kuzma has already attracted attention from basketball fans around the world and this guy will likely give Lonzo Ball a run for his money because despite being the 27th pick in the draft, Kyle Kuzma, this early, is already being included as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. 
Yes, folks. Kyle Kuzma may steal the limelight away from Lonzo Ball. 

Out Mozgov. In Lopez.

Simply put it this way: Timofey Mozgov is USELESS. Brook Lopez is way BETTER. Lopez can contribute more for the Lakers than Mozgov who only wasted away the Lakers’ money and the minutes that would be better given to more deserving AND performing players. Sure, the swap also included sending an immature D’Angelo Russell but this basketball pundit firmly believes that this swap will be worth it especially in the long run.

Conclusion:

While the three things mentioned above won’t guarantee a return trip to the playoffs for the Lakers, they will certainly make things better. For starters, they will improve the chances of the Lakers in winning more games than just lagging below the standings in the packed and stacked Western Conference. And who knows? The dynamic duo of Kuzma and Ball might be the final piece to adding LeBron James into the picture, right? 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Why Letting Go of Mozgov Benefits the Lakers

And why they should let go of Luol Deng, too…

Timofey Mozgov is a complete waste of money for the Lakers. 
When it was first announced that the Los Angeles Lakers and Timofey Mozgov agreed to a 4-year, 64 million Dollar-contract, even die-hard Laker fans, including this basketball pundit on wheels, were surprised, shocked and some, angered by this stunning development. 
Everyone was like: Have those guys inside the Lakers front office completely lost their minds? 
With all due respect to the fans of Mozgov, the primary reason why that disgusting deal wasn’t worth the money that paid for Mozgov was that Mozgov wasn’t even averaging in double figures for almost his entire career with the lone exception with one of his two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers back during the 2014-2015 season when he averaged 10 points per game. 
He, of course, was traded off to the Denver Nuggets in the same season. His stint with the Purple and Gold during the 2016-2017 season was no different at all as he only averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds per game while playing for 54 of the 82 regular season games, starting 52 of those games- for 22 minutes of action. That, folks, was a waste of time and a roster spot for a team who has been in rebuilding mode a season after their vocal leader, Kobe Bryant, walked away from the game, for good.
Fast-forward to the off-season prior to the 2017-2018 season. The Lakers- right after picking Lonzo Ball as the 2nd pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, acquired Brook Lopez and the rights to Kyle Kuzma, the draft’s 27th pick from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for D’Angelo Russell AND Timofey Mozgov. FINALLY!
Okay! Calm yourselves down, folks. This basketball pundit used to cheer for D’Angelo Russell during his stint with the Lakers but his immaturity both on and off the court was one of the reasons why this trade needs to happen and this pundit was very much relieved that the Lakers did the right thing. Russell has the potential to evolve into one of the best point guards in the NBA but his unnecessary actions are hampering and hurting his growth.
As for Mozgov, the Lakers letting him go for Brook Lopez AND Kyle Kuzma- definitely a steal in this year’s draft, is a good deal especially for the part of the Lakers. Why?
  1. First and foremost, Brook Lopez is already an established big man in the NBA, having produced big numbers during his 9 seasons with the Nets franchise. His numbers during the 2016-2017 season saw him average 20 points and 5 boards per night. He will be a welcome addition to the starting line-up of Coach Luke Walton once the regular season kicks off.
  2. As mentioned, Kyle Kuzma is one of the best things that have happened to the Lakers this off-season. In fact, during the ongoing preseason games, Kuzma is in 8th place in points per game, norming 19 points. While the Lakers just lost another preseason game to the Utah Jazz, 105-99, that doesn’t change the fact that the future of the Lakers has thanks to the arrival of Kuzma.
  3. Simply put it this way: Even though Timofey Mozgov once scored 23 points and grabbed 29 rebounds against the Golden State Warriors during his stint with the Denver Nuggets back in 2014, Mozgov remains as one of the most overpaid and yet, underperforming big men the league has ever witnessed. 

Conclusion:

Letting go of Timofey Mozgov along with his hefty contract frees up a roster spot in the rotation of Luke Walton. This means that guys like Ivaca Zubac, Thomas Bryant and even journeyman forward, Corey Brewer will likely see their playing minutes increase come the regular season. Now, if the Lakers got rid of Timofey Mozgov, then it only means that they can also get rid of Luol Deng, right?  

ICYMI: Lakers Draft Results and the Trade with Nets for Brook Lopez

The Lakers entered the 2017 NBA Draft with 2 picks in the first round, the #2 and #28. By virtue of a few trades, they ended the night quite differently.
They started the night by selecting Lonzo Ball, guard out of UCLA with the #2 overall pick.
Catch the introductory press conference on Friday, 6/23 at 2:30pm PT. Livestream on Lakers.com or the Lakers app or Lakers Twitter/Facebook.
As a result of the Brook Lopez trade with the Nets, the Lakers acquired the draft rights to the #27 pick, Kyle Kuzma, forward out of Utah, sending D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn.
The #28 pick, acquired from Houston in the Lou Williams trade, was then traded to Utah for the #30 and #42 picks. The Lakers followed that up by selecting Josh Hart, guard out of Villanova, with the 30th pick and Thomas Bryant, center out of Indiana, with the 42nd pick.
Following the draft, GM Rob Pelinka addressed the media about the day’s action.