2013-14 marked a huge slump for Kobe Bryant’s Lakers. They managed a paltry 27-55 record and finished #14 in the rankings, just ahead of Utah Jazz.
However, they were able to get the 7th overall pick to their name by utilizing the offseason. Just as Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Aaron Gordon got picked, the Lakers made a brilliant choice and signed Julius Randle.
Along with the prodigy from Kentucky, they also acquired the 46th overall pick, Jordan Clarkson, from the Wizards. However, the days for the Buss family were still far from seeing sunshine and rainbows. The next thing the world knew, the two talented stars left their launching pad in a few years.
Magic Johnson acknowledged their talent
Both Julius Randle (NY Knicks) and Jordan Clarkson (Jazz) are crucial pieces for their squads today. Their numbers speak for them as the two stars are enjoying the most productive seasons of their lives this year. The 12x NBA All-star and Lakers’ franchise face Magic Johnson noted this and tweeted with a big prediction on their name. Take a look –
The two stars were still on the Lakers team when Magic assumed the office as the President of Basketball Operations in February 2017. The NBA legend saw their growth and knew the ceiling for these two was high. Still, the Lakers saw their franchise-worst season in 2015-16 with a 17-65 record and both the stars playing.
What went wrong with the Lakers that led to these two leaving the unit
The Lakers were no more the same team when Julius and Jordan entered. It was the first season without Pau Gasol and Steve Nash on the team. Adding insult to injury, even Kobe Bryant was injured and approaching his retirement. All this, with the rise of Warriors in the WC, further dampened every ambition of the Lakers.
They brought Magic to the front office with a promise to change the franchise’s fate within two years. He made some tough choices and sent Jordan Clarkson, an instant scorer, to Cleveland and created some salary space. Also, the Lakers organization was not ready to make long-term commitments with Julius, which further forced him to opt-out of the team.
After those hard moves, the Lakers signed more big names but continued to struggle until LeBron James and Anthony Davis united in 2019. Fast forward to today, Julius Randle, who started his career with a fractured tibia and missing the first season, is single-handedly pulling the Knicks up while Clarkson is helping the Jazz give close competition to the Lakers in WC.
Read Also – Have R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle Shown That The New York Knicks Are Finally a Functional Franchise?
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