Will the Lakers-Kings rivalry of the 2000's be renewed with Ball-Fox?
Even if you aren't an avid fan of the NBA, you knew about the dynasty the Los Angeles Lakers created with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in the early 2000's. They dominated the league, from the beginning of the new millennium, on their way to winning three straight NBA title. During that time the Lakers always seemed to have a big rival in the Western Conference - the Sacremento Kings.
The Kings had a powerhouse team of their own. With players with Mike Bibby, Chris Webber, and others, they made life difficult at times for the Lakers. Even though during this time the Kings never made it past the Lakers in the playoffs, they were easily the hardest competition they had to face during their three championship runs. This rivalry brought about a sense of competition and love for their respected teams in the state of California.
Future of the Kings
Since that time, the Lakers remained relevant through Kobe Bryant, winning two more championships, before eventually becoming a team in need of a rebuild. For the Kings, their playoff drought is up to twelve straight seasons as they have dropped to the bottom of the rankings in the NBA.
The Kings have had good players since this time including Demarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and others, but struggled to become relevant in the NBA. Kings fans have been begging for something to cheer about with their team, and that reason to cheer might be on the horizon. With the recent draft picks of the Sacremento Kings over the years, they just might have the youngest and biggest potential talent pool in the league. With the average age of the team being just above 25 years old, they have young players who can turn into big-time players.
Players like Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield are set to make big impacts for their teams along with rookies full of talent like De'Aaron Fox (arguably the best point guard in the 2017 draft), Justin Jackson, and the dark horse Harry Giles. The Kings could renew their dominance in the West in the upcoming years.
Lonzo Ball's Lakers
As for the Lakers, everybody knows about the power moves they made in the front office with the addition of possibly the best Laker ever in Magic Johnson, and a general manager in Rob Pelinka. Along with the current Lakers roster in Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and Jordan Clarkson, they went out and traded for an all-star center in Brook Lopez who can dominate the boards and score the basketball.
A center that dominates the game, something the Lakers haven't had since the likes of Shaq and Pau Gasol. The also added a sleeper pick type of scorer in Kentavious Cadwell-Pope in free agency. But probably the most important addition they had in the offseason has to be the addition of Lonzo Ball in the 2017 NBA Draft. Lonzo Ball is expected to be the next great Laker. He is expected to lead them back to greatness and the legacy the Lakers are known for. Not to mention the amount of cap room they will have next season to try and sign big-time free agents (cough, cough, Lebron).
Fox vs. Ball
Although both teams seem to be on the rise in the immediate future, the real reason why this rivalry might renew itself is the player matchup of De'Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball. Even in the early 2000's games, the player rivalry of Chris Webber and Mike Bibby for the Kings, and Shaq and Kobe for the Lakers made this rivalry competitive with some amazing play from both duos of their respected teams.
Players make the rivalry, so enter in Fox and Ball. In college, these two players collided twice with Lonzo winning the first matchup in Lexington leading the UCLA Bruins to a 97-92 victory ending Kentucky's 42 game home winning streak and their number one ranking in the country. But Fox came back and got the best of Ball and the Bruins in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament. Fox dominated this game on both ends of the court scoring 39 points and holding Ball to just 10 points and 8 assists.
After a couple of social media scuffs with each other, this rivalry is set to heat back up. The Lakers and Kings face off against each other four times this season. Make sure you make those games on your calendar because I have a feeling Lonzo Ball and De'Aaron Fox will be.