Home > News > Sports > NBA > Los Angeles Lakers: NBA season preview, roster and schedule 2018

Los Angeles Lakers: NBA season preview, roster and schedule 2018

The Lakers now have a new face of their franchise in Lonzo Ball, but can the rookie quickly lead the franchise back to playoff contention?


Offseason Recap

Arrivals: Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Thomas Bryant, Briante Weber, Vander Blue, Alex Caruso, Stephen Zimmerman, V.J. Beachem

Departures: D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov, Nick Young, Tarik Black, Thomas Robinson, David Nwaba, Metta World Peace

The Lakers quietly had one of the better offseasons in the league. As expected, they got their man in Lonzo Ball with the second pick in the draft. In Ball, the Lakers potentially have that potential franchise-changing player that they’ve been missing during their rebuild.

They picked up a couple of interesting pieces as well with Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, both of whom could be able to contribute immediately as rookies.

Ball’s arrival more than made up for the loss of D’Angelo Russell, whom the team sacrificed to the Brooklyn Nets to rid themselves of Timofey Mozgov’s onerous contract. They also picked up a rock-solid veteran in Brook Lopez in the Russell deal and were able to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a one-year deal after the guard couldn’t agree on a long-term deal with the Pistons.

Meanwhile, they’ve filled up the rest of their roster smartly as they re-signed Tyler Ennis to be their backup point guard, as well as veteran Andrew Bogut to be another big man off the bench.

Projected Depth Chart

C – Brook Lopez / Ivica Zubac / Andrew Bogut / Thomas Bryant

PF – Julius Randle / Larry Nance Jr. / Kyle Kuzma

SF – Brandon Ingram / Luol Deng / Corey Brewer

SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope / Jordan Clarkson / Josh Hart

PG – Lonzo Ball / Tyler Ennis / Briante Weber

Strengths

The Lakers have the pieces to take a significant step up on offense this season. A lot will be expected of Ball to lead the offense, and while he’ll still have some learning to do in the half court, he’ll have a young and athletic team around him to cater to his main strength, which is in transition. Watching him orchestrate fast breaks with the likes of Ingram, Nance, and Kuzma running the floor could see a return of the Showtime Lakers.

The addition of Lopez is a major upgrade over what they had at center last season. His shooting should do wonders to the team’s spacing. Randle, in particular, could be the main beneficiary of that extra space now that he has more room to work on the post and when he’s making his drives to the lane. And when Randle is out, the Lakers can play Ingram and/or Kuzma and potentially have all five players on the floor capable of hitting threes.

Meanwhile, LA sneakily have some good depth. They’ve got decent options at nearly every position. Kuzma had an impressive Summer League stint, and even though he’s got the tools to be a capable 3-and-D wing, he might be third choice in either forward spot at the moment.

Weaknesses

The Lakers were dead last in defense last season, and figure to be right at the bottom once again. Apart from Caldwell-Pope and Nance, they’re still lacking in other above-average defenders on their rotation. Their two young stars, Ball and Ingram, are still liabilities on that end of the floor. They could also continue to struggle in terms of defensive rebounding, with Lopez a below average rebounder for a big man.

The Lakers gave up too many turnovers last season, which is to be expected from a young team. With a maverick like Ball now running the show and attempting his share of risky passes, don’t expect that figure to change all that much. Unless they patch up their transition defense, they could be susceptible to giving up a good share of fast-break points.

The overall lack of experience on the roster will also hold the team back. This is still a very young group that doesn’t quite know how to win in the NBA yet. They’ll likely experience a lot of growing pains this season in terms of failing to close out games in winning situations, especially since they don’t yet have a go-to guy who knows how to operate in the clutch.

Player to Watch – Lonzo Ball

 

There is clearly a ton of hype and attention on Lonzo Ball entering his rookie season. He only fueled that hype by his spectacular showing during Las Vegas Summer League, where he ran the show like a seasoned vet.

While the 20-year-old still needs some more polish to his game overall, he could be just as exciting and entertaining as anticipated right off the jump as he takes control of a fast-paced Lakers offense. Some of the passes he can make are breathtaking. Ball will be given a lot of rope to make mistakes, which is why he is a big favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He's going to play a lot and he's going to make a lot of dazzling plays.

The Lakers are must-watch TV once again, and Ball is a major reason for it. His presence not only makes the Lakers relevant for the first time in a long while, he could also make them a lot of fun.

2017/18 Schedule

1 Oct 19, 2017  vs. Los Angeles Clippers 

2 Oct 20, 2017  @ Phoenix Suns 

3 Oct 22, 2017  vs. New Orleans Pelicans

4 Oct 25, 2017  vs. Washington Wizards  

5 Oct 27, 2017  vs. Toronto Raptors 

6 Oct 28, 2017  @ Utah Jazz  

7 Oct 31, 2017  vs. Detroit Pistons  

8 Nov 2, 2017  @ Portland Trail Blazers  

9 Nov 3, 2017  vs. Brooklyn Nets  

10 Nov 5, 2017  vs. Memphis Grizzlies 

11 Nov 8, 2017  @ Boston Celtics  

12 Nov 9, 2017  @ Washington Wizards   

13 Nov 11, 2017  @ Milwaukee Bucks  

14 Nov 13, 2017  @ Phoenix Suns 

15 Nov 15, 2017  vs. Philadelphia 76ers   

16 Nov 17, 2017  vs. Phoenix Suns 

17 Nov 19, 2017  vs. Denver Nuggets  

18 Nov 21, 2017  vs. Chicago Bulls   

19 Nov 22, 2017  @ Sacramento Kings  

20 Nov 27, 2017  @ Los Angeles Clippers  

21 Nov 29, 2017  vs. Golden State Warriors

22 Dec 2, 2017  @ Denver Nuggets     

23 Dec 3, 2017  vs. Houston Rockets     

24 Dec 7, 2017  @ Philadelphia 76ers     

25 Dec 9, 2017  @ Charlotte Hornets     

26 Dec 12, 2017  @ New York Knicks     

27 Dec 14, 2017  @ Cleveland Cavaliers     

28 Dec 18, 2017  vs. Golden State Warriors     

29 Dec 20, 2017  @ Houston Rockets     

30 Dec 22, 2017  @ Golden State Warriors     

31 Dec 23, 2017  vs. Portland Trail Blazers     

32 Dec 25, 2017  vs. Minnesota Timberwolves     

33 Dec 27, 2017  vs. Memphis Grizzlies     

34 Dec 29, 2017  vs. Los Angeles Clippers     

35 Dec 31, 2017  @ Houston Rockets     

36 Jan 1, 2018  @ Minnesota Timberwolves     

37 Jan 3, 2018  vs. Oklahoma City Thunder     

38 Jan 5, 2018  vs. Charlotte Hornets     

39 Jan 7, 2018  vs. Atlanta Hawks     

40 Jan 9, 2018  vs. Sacramento Kings     

41 Jan 11, 2018  vs. San Antonio Spurs     

42 Jan 13, 2018  @ Dallas Mavericks     

43 Jan 15, 2018  @ Memphis Grizzlies     

44 Jan 17, 2018  @ Oklahoma City Thunder     

45 Jan 19, 2018  vs. Indiana Pacers     

46 Jan 21, 2018  vs. New York Knicks     

47 Jan 23, 2018  vs. Boston Celtics     

48 Jan 26, 2018  @ Chicago Bulls     

49 Jan 28, 2018  @ Toronto Raptors     

50 Jan 31, 2018  @ Orlando Magic     

51 Feb 2, 2018  @ Brooklyn Nets     

52 Feb 4, 2018  @ Oklahoma City Thunder     

53 Feb 6, 2018  vs. Phoenix Suns     

54 Feb 8, 2018  vs. Oklahoma City Thunder     

55 Feb 10, 2018  @ Dallas Mavericks     

56 Feb 14, 2018  @ New Orleans Pelicans     

57 Feb 15, 2018  @ Minnesota Timberwolves     

58 Feb 23, 2018  vs. Dallas Mavericks     

59 Feb 24, 2018  @ Sacramento Kings     

60 Feb 26, 2018  @ Atlanta Hawks     

61 Mar 1, 2018  @ Miami Heat     

62 Mar 3, 2018  @ San Antonio Spurs     

63 Mar 5, 2018  vs. Portland Trail Blazers     

64 Mar 7, 2018  vs. Orlando Magic     

65 Mar 9, 2018  @ Denver Nuggets     

66 Mar 11, 2018  vs. Cleveland Cavaliers     

67 Mar 13, 2018  vs. Denver Nuggets     

68 Mar 14, 2018  @ Golden State Warriors     

69 Mar 16, 2018  vs. Miami Heat    

70 Mar 19, 2018  @ Indiana Pacers     

71 Mar 22, 2018  @ New Orleans Pelicans     

72 Mar 24, 2018  @ Memphis Grizzlies     

73 Mar 26, 2018  @ Detroit Pistons     

74 Mar 28, 2018  vs. Dallas Mavericks     

75 Mar 30, 2018  vs. Milwaukee Bucks     

76 Apr 1, 2018  vs. Sacramento Kings     

77 Apr 3, 2018  @ Utah Jazz    

78 Apr 4, 2018  vs. San Antonio Spurs     

79 Apr 6, 2018  vs. Minnesota Timberwolves     

80 Apr 8, 2018  vs. Utah Jazz     

81 Apr 10, 2018  vs. Houston Rockets     

82 Apr 11, 2018  @ Los Angeles Clippers     

Prediction

The Lakers are clearly a much better team than last season. Ball will be good, Ingram will improve, and the addition of Lopez and Caldwell-Pope will help a lot. However, expecting this team to challenge for a postseason spot seems foolish. The front office would rather try to continue developing their young assets than to push for the playoffs when they're clearly not yet ready. 

The Lakers still see a healthy bump up in wins as they finish 35-47, but that's only good enough to see them land at third from bottom in the West.

  1. Who will be the Lakers' leading scorer?

    1. Lonzo Ball
    2. Brook Lopez
    3. Brandon Ingram
    4. Jordan Clarkson
    5. Julius Randle
    22 votes
    Share Your Result

Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?

Brad Taningco

Brad Taningco has been a RealSport NBA contributor since Decemeber 2016. But apart from basketball, he's also a fan of soccer, American football, baseball, and ice hockey.

Los Angeles Lakers: NBA season preview, roster and schedule 2018

Send this to a friend