2016-17 Record: 26-56 (14th in West)
Players Added: Lonzo Ball (Draft), V.J. Beachem (FA), Vander Blue (FA), Thomas Bryant (Draft), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (FA), Josh Hart (Draft), Kyle Kuzma (Draft), Brook Lopez (Trade with BKN), Briante Weber (FA), Stephen Zimmerman (FA)
Players Lost: Tarik Black (FA), Timofey Mozgov (Trade with BKN), David Nwaba (FA), Thomas Robinson (FA), D’Angelo Russell (Trade with BKN), Metta World Peace, Nick Young (FA)
Projected Team MVP: Brook Lopez
This is a very tricky evaluation but, at this particular moment in time, the best player on the Lakers roster is Brook Lopez. Yes, the same Brook Lopez that, at least in some way, is viewed as a throw-in along with Kyle Kuzma and salary relief in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov this summer.
Make no mistake, Lopez may have actually been an afterthought in the deal but the 29-year-old former All-Star remains a tremendous basketball player. He isn’t the sexiest asset on the roster, in part because Lopez is operating on an expiring contract, but his offensive ability will go a long way toward opening things up for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and others. In fact, Lopez’s out-of-nowhere development as a three-point threat (35 percent on 5.2 attempts per game a season ago) could prove quite valuable for a team that could use the outside shooting and he has long been a top-tier offensive player that makes others better on that end.
It is certainly worth pointing out that Lopez has never been a real asset on the defensive end and, given the youth in Los Angeles, that side of things might be an adventure this season. Still, Lopez is the one player on this roster that is unequivocally an above-average starter when evaluating the 2017-2018 season in a vacuum and there is real value in that.