Lakers jump way up to No. 4 in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings
ESPN’s NBA Future Power Rankings written by Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks are a projection of how teams will do over the course of the next three seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers have jumped all the way up to No. 4 from No. 11 in the rankings after developing a young core and adding LeBron James. Pelton writes:
Now the question is just how far the LeBron-led Lakers can go. Though there are still question marks about their current roster, particularly for this season, the Lakers have the ability to add another max free agent to the mix next summer. Add in the development of L.A.’s young talent and the pieces, and future options of a championship contender could be in place.
Despite the Lakers’ confounding moves in free agency after signing James and re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a series of wise deals to maintain cap flexibility — including agreeing to a buyout with Luol Deng that will reduce his cap hit over the stretched portion of his contract — and the Lakers’ solid second season under Luke Walton have improved their management score.
As Pelton states, Los Angeles still has serious question marks about the roster this season. Unfortunately, the roster doesn’t look like it can compete with the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series. They’re much better than they were at this point last season, but they still aren’t quite there.
That being said, the flexibility to sign a max free agent next summer, the market, the coaching staff, and the front office are all positives that position the Lakers to contend for a title as soon as next season.