Multiple 2k18 sims I’ve seen always have Kings finish ahead of LAL, so the immediate future is obviously bright!
Long term? Let’s look at 1st rounders who are under contract for the next couple seasons.
Lakers have Ball (in a month), Ingram, Zubac all at 20. Kuzma, Hart, and Randle are 22-23. Nance Jr is 24. And Clarkson is 25. Tho Clark is a 2nd-rounder, I’ll throw LAL a bone since KCP is just on a 1-year. So there’s your foundation of 8 young players.
Kings have Giles, Fox, Skal all 20 or younger. Malachi and Just-Jax at 21-22. The “old” youth is Hield, WCS, and Bogdan at 24-25. That’s your 8-man foundation of 1st-round youth (not even counting 2nd-rounder FM3!).
Both look solid, but let’s take a closer look…
LAL first. Hart shouldn’t count, let’s face it. Randle, Nance, and Clarkson have likely reached their peaks already, which to be honest, isn’t all that bad. I like Randle a lot for what he is. Nance and Clarkson are solid rotation players. I’m big on Kuzma and I think Zubac will actually be a nice piece if given the opportunity. Ball does look to turn out pretty well, I’ll give him that. I’ve grown to be big on him. Ingram, I’m not sold on. Will he ever care enough to be great? Or just be capped at a Jeff Green type of ceiling? I’m going w/ the latter.
Sac? Let’s get Malachi out of the way first. He looks to be a decent bench player his whole career. Maybe like a Roberson-lite who can hit FTs. WCS is the established daily wild card and always will be due to his inconsistent effort. 22/18/3blks one game. 10/6/0blks next game. I think that’s him his whole career. I think Buddy has also reached his peak, which isn’t bad. W/ the Kings he averaged like 18ppg on 40%3P. Sounds about right. Maybe he creeps into 20ppg status once in a while. Fox looks to be great, a better Rondo. Justin probably won’t be anything special, but a decent 3&D type off the bench. The real long term wild cards are Giles, Skal, and Bogdan. Giles is KG-like boom, early-Kwame-like bust. Skal has shown some amazing potential, peak LMA type stuff. But he could be inconsistent like WCS, but not due to effort like WCS. Then there’s Bogdan. Euro god. How will that translate to the NBA? The next Petrovic? Or just solid like AK47 or Marciulionis? Or will he be more like Goran’s brother?
Coaches and systems? Joerger is coo. Luke is coo. Kings don't seem to have any guaranteed star on offense like LAL does. But, Kings could end up having 3-5 really good offensive guys, a scoring by committee type of situation. Joerger is all about the D(efense...) so I expect them to be really good on that end of the floor. Lakers could be like Warriors-lite on offense. D? Worst team D rating in the league last season. But their normal team stats were decent. We'll see. I'm not familiar enough w/ them to really project.
In summary, Lakers do look nice. Ball is likely a multi-year All-Star. Zubac, Randle, and Kuzma I think can be an extremely solid front court. But I’m banking on Ingram to bust. Lakers ceiling is lower, but their floor is higher, compared to the Kings, imo, b/c…
Kings are all about potential. Fox looks to be the only guaranteed variable to be a star. Hield is what he is. WCS is what he is. The 3 big wild cards in Skal, Giles, and Bogdan will determine how far/high this team can go. If all 3 turn into mediocre players, then Kings will need some new plans to build around Fox and Hield. If all 3 reach their full potential, Kings could be one of the best teams in the NBA in 3-4 years.
As an optimist, Kings’ future DOES looks way brighter. As a realist, Lakers’ future looks to be safer, but not sure they’ll be that #1-3 type of seed w/ their current foundation.
realized I left out PapaG! Damn, Kings future > Lakers future fo sho. But seriously, PapaG is in the same boat as Skal, Giles, and Bogdan. An unknown variable based on potential. One of these bigs won't develop simply due to lack of mins. WCS, Skal, Giles, PapaG... And that's not even counting the vets Koufos and ZBo taking mins, too.