The Los Angeles Lakers are looking good, that is if one would use the summer league as a basis. But as most know, there were plenty of factors absent such as seeing the veterans participate in that camp. Training camp will be crucial to see how the Lakers will perform this 2017-18 NBA season.

The Lakers do have a couple of impressive rookies in Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Their new additions include Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Mainstays include Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Luol Deng is still there though he has yet to prove he is worth his fat contract.

Taking all this into consideration, there is that weird feeling of lacking leadership. Deng should have been that guy. But if last season would be the basis, most would agree that he is nowhere near that? How about Jordan Clarkson or Brook Lopez? Similar to Deng, Lakers fans hardly visualize it.

Stats don’t lie

ESPN released its projections for the coming season, numbers which could give NBA fans a glimpse of things to come. Despite a retooled Lakers lineup, Kevin Pelton projects the Lakers to win only 33 games. If that is translated into the standings, the purple and gold may end up the third worst team in the Western Conference.

If this does happen, it won’t be taken against the Lakers. Magic Johnson has just started tweaking the ballclub so the seeds may need time to sprout.

But a call based on statistics may not show the entire picture, meaning it all boils down to what the young players can do.

Actual play still stands out

Ball showed what he can do, same with Kuzma. Ingram, Clarkson, and Randle have proven themselves the over past years and consistency would be the icing on the cake. Lopez and Caldwell-Pope are veterans, both of whom have been placed in the spotlight with their prior teams.

The pressure falls on the shoulders of Luke Walton as he tries to draw out the best from the group. He had some success earlier last season though all that fizzled midway. The thing here is that the young Lakers coach knows how to turn the right knobs even with a bunch of new players.

Disappointed at the turn of things for the Lakers last season, Walton gets a fresh lease.

He knows what each Lakers player brings to the table – including the rookies. The Lakers likely target would be the playoffs but a projected 33-win will not be enough. Going beyond that will require a team effort, something doable if the manpower available is used in the right way.