In a 17 win season it seems silly to give out awards, but even in the worst season in franchise history there are positives to be taken away. We’re going to take a look at the the team MVP, Biggest Surprise, Biggest Disappointment, Brightest Future.
Most Valuable Player
This was the hardest award to give for a few reasons, the biggest being how do you determine the most valuable, especially on such a bad team. You could look at advanced stats and go by VORP (Value over replacement player), or PER, BPM (box score plus minus), or win shares. Each of those will give you a different player and I’m not sure I agree with any of them.
In a season like this, my pick for MVP is going to be Metta World Peace. I don’t think any player stood out enough on the court to warrant an MVP pick, but Metta was the perfect mentor (as weird as that is to say) to these young guys. While there were other vets not acting as good influences on 20 year olds, Metta seems to be a voice that both kept them in check and encouraged them in a tough season. Keeping Metta for basketball reasons probably was a bad choice, but Metta the mentor was invaluable this season.
I think we can all agree the biggest surprise this year was the great play of Ryan Kelly, no wait, I mean Larry Nance Jr. On draft night, many Lakers fans, including myself, were confused by the Nance Jr pick, and even more confused when they took Anthony Brown in the second round.
Looking back, we were all foolish to not trust Mitch and Co with their drafting decisions. Nance Jr averaged 5.5 points and 5 rebounds per game. His impact on the court was much more than stats. He provided energy and fun in a season that did not have a ton of fun. The Lakers found themselves a gem (again) and Nance looks to be a solid player that will be in the rotation on a good team for a long time.
This hurts me to say because I might have been the biggest advocate when he arrived, but Roy Hibbert was the biggest disappointment this season. Hibbert did provide a bit of rim protection and he was very good with the youth, but he was nothing that many of us were expecting. It seems the game has passed Hibbert and he’s been unable to adjust. Hibbert offered nothing offensively and couldn’t help the Lakers out of the gutter defensively. Hibbert won’t be on the Lakers next season, but I wish him nothing but the best.
D’Angelo Russell undoubtedly has the highest ceiling on the Lakers and looks like he could be a bonafide superstar. Randle is the player I am most excited about, but Russell is the star. Russell put together one of the most impressive seasons for someone aged 18 or 19 in NBA history. Only Kyrie and LeBron put up better numbers and those guys were the #1 option on their teams. Here is the list of players to put up 16 points/4 assists/ 4 rebounds per 36 at age 18 or 19.