The Lakers won the past three out of five games and there’s fear by their fans they could fall out of the bottom three and lose their protected pick.

The bright side is their young stars D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have played extremely well as of late and it’s cause for hope in Laker Land.

Byron Scott has taken the brunt of criticism all season for the way he’s handled the young stars, but our young core are starting to take flight before our eyes.

What if Scott was giving Russell and Randle the same treatment he gave Clarkson last season?

Lakers fans can only speculate what leadership is thinking, but we all can agree there is more optimism now than before.

The Lakers find themselves in a precarious situation: tank to increase their chances of landing a high draft pick or risk playing Russell, Randle and Clarkson big minutes and win more games. From a strategic standpoint the answer is simple: lose to win. This season has been wasted and the consolation prize would be landing Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram in the NBA Draft. But what upside can the improved play provide for the Lakers?

Building young talent through the draft makes economical and long-term sense, but landing a superstar in free agency can turn your franchise much quicker. When the Lakers win it sends a message to upcoming free agents that L.A. is a place on the cusp of greatness. Since the Lakers have two max contract spots available, pairing a star small forward with a dominant center isn’t out of the question. In fact, the reason the Lakers have struck out in the past three off-seasons is because of a lack of direction, not Kobe Bryant.

Regardless whether Jim Buss stays or goes, the Lakers foundation needs to be built on talent first, then coaching. Players like Kevin Durant look around to see what attractive options are out there, so if the Lakers have a bright future L.A. becomes a desired landing spot again.

The Lakers would have to go on a tear to fall out of the bottom 3 spots and although it’s scary as fan it’s also fun to watch this young core grow together. Add two superstars to the foundation of Russell, Clarkson, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. and contending in the playoff isn’t such a remote wish anymore.

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Author, blogger, speaker & die-hard Lakers fan

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