In Julius Randle lies the Lakers' greatest hope.
In addition to being ready to contribute right away, Randle is the bridge to the future.
That's why L.A. needs to throw him into the fire from day one and let him make as many mistakes as necessary to develop as quickly as possible.
Two years from now when Kobe Bryant's contract comes off the books and the Lakers have loads of cap space to pursue big free agents, those guys need to look at the Lakers and see a blossoming star in Randle whom they would like to come play with—similar to how LeBron is pairing up with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
No superstar free agents chose to come to L.A. this summer because of the dismal roster and because Bryant's cap-clogging deal prevented much personnel improvement. With Randle still on his rookie deal in two years, the Lakers could easily fit in two max free agents and end up with three stars for the price of two.
That would be the dream, and it should be what the Lakers aim for.
Carlos Boozer's acquisition makes it tough to envision Randle playing 35 minutes a night right off the bat, but the talk of shifting Boozer to the wing suggests that the Lakers brass is invested in accelerating Randle's development.
He should be the starting power forward and play heavy minutes. Randle will put up big numbers for a first-year player and be in the running for Rookie of the Year—especially after he starts playing 40 minutes a night down the stretch when L.A. is eliminated from playoff contention.