The Los Angeles Lakers have been through many changes since the Kobe Bryant era firmly ended during the mid-2010s. The Lakers may now again be a team headlined by their superstars, but they did try building through the draft for a while. And when one thinks about the names they acquired through the drafting process, it's a little hard to understand why they didn't manage to succeed.
In 2014, the Lakers drafted Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. In 2015, they added D'Angelo Russell to the roster before picking Brandon Ingram in the 2016 NBA draft. Three of these players have All-Star appearances to their names, and Jordan Clarkson has won Sixth Man of the Year. They added more young talent like Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball too, which is a list of some great names. But it didn't quite work out, and only the people within the organization during that time knew exactly why.
Jordan Clarkson Explained That He Didn't Think The Lakers' Young Core Could Ever Have Won A Championship
Jordan Clarkson was an exciting part of that team, and his career has blossomed quite nicely outside of Los Angeles. Even though the Utah Jazz have just begun a rebuild, Clarkson's stock remains high, and he can expect to feature prominently on a team next season. In a recent interview with Complex, though, Clarkson addressed the early teams he was on with the Lakers, sharing that he didn't think they could have won together.
"I don’t think it ever was going to work with all of us being there. [Laughs.] I think we all were stars in our own right. Us separating and going into our home lanes was a good change of scenery for everybody. I see the tweets and all that stuff. It’s so funny to look back on it. I think the Lakers did a great job of scouting us, finding the talent, and giving us the opportunity by drafting us.
"But us all being on the same team, I don’t think it ever would’ve worked out. We probably wouldn’t have brought a championship back to them or none of that, you know what I mean? They got LeBron for us, whatever it is. It’s part of the game. All of us were stars in our own roles. We had to get a change of scenery to let us grow in other ways."
Sports is filled with numerous 'what ifs', and the Lakers could have built an incredible team out of the players they drafted. However, moving on from them and getting in LeBron James and Anthony Davis already has brought them one championship, so it's a little hard to find too much fault with the course of action they chose.