Lakers Stuck in the Present as Youth Movement Lacks Youth, Movement

LOS ANGELES — It's human nature to be happier working toward something, the basic feeling of growth surprisingly fulfilling even when compared with the delight of success.

This era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball obviously isn't about success.

It isn't about growth, either.

That's a problem.

Free agency is the understandable and logical solution for the Lakers, especially considering how much talent will be available come 2016, but the uncertainty of how that sudden change will occur does nothing for the present day.

The whole misguided “tanking” mindset, diminishing the competitive spirit, is rooted in fans' desire to feel like the games are building toward something bigger and better.

So while it makes sense for the Lakers to fill out their injury-depleted roster with probably the best current player available, ex-Lakers forward Earl Clark from the NBA Development League, Clark is 26 and not quite a beacon of hope for the future.

And the Lakers' efforts to present a player who could be part of a bright future have not worked out so far this season.

The Lakers worked out several younger players—including 22-year-old Quincy Miller, who has been compared to Kevin Durant and Paul George—earlier this month with an eye toward using this time for development. No one blew the Lakers away.

So instead of giving up on him, the Lakers had decided to wait and see if Xavier Henry, 23, could get his injured body back to the point it was at this time last year, when his hammer dunk on New Orleans center Jeff Withey was just the sort of play that can animate a losing team. Henry was re-signed in the offseason largely because his age allowed for a potentially major improvement still to come.

Instead, Henry offered nothing and then tore his Achilles on Monday in practice in a potentially career-ending injury.


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