With the Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour complete, nobody is under more of a microspore this coming season than Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. After 38 wins in the last two seasons, they’ll begin next year with a young roster led by rookie head coach Luke Walton.
Last night, the Lakers drafted 6’11’’ stretch 4, Brandon Ingram out of Duke with second overall pick. Ingram adds more scoring and three point shooting to the stable of inexperienced talent like Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell.
Mitch Kupchak joined The Herd today to talk about his expectations for the upcoming year and how Brandon Ingram fits into their plans. He said although he received considerable interest from teams wanting to trade up for the pick, none of the offers were worth passing up Ingram.
“There was a lot of activity. There wasn’t much that we would do to trade the pick. We felt real comfortable with either one of those guys at the top.”
The Lakers don’t look like they’re anywhere close to competing, but fans are growing impatient and want to see progress. Kupchak said that although the Lakers won’t be competing for a title next year, he wants to put an entertaining product on the floor that gives the fans hope.
“To me the most important thing is not so much winning all the games we can win this year. I mean a we can add veteran free agents that may be a little long in the tooth and win an extra four or five games.
But the most important thing, I think, is to develop our core, add some free agents if possible, and every 10 to 15 games next year, knowing that you’re going to lose some of them, show improvement. And bring something to our partners and our fans that they can watch over an 82 game schedule.”
With Kobe gone, the Lakers will have to shift their focus from selling tickets to winning games, something they haven’t done a lot of recently. If they don’t, it could be Mitch Kupchak’s farewell tour.