It was tough enough when the Lakers had to play catch-up with the rest of the NBA.

But now there’s a turf war in Los Angeles again, what with all these rumblings that LeBron James might be headed for Tinsel Town in the summer of 2018 and the Lakers and Clippers doing all they can to get their houses in order before that. Whether it’s James or Paul George or any of the other big-name stars who might be able to take each team to the next level, the last thing you want is to have one of those movie sets where it’s all a façade once you get past the front door.

Now is the time to build something real, from the inside out.

So Lakers owner Jeanie Buss added Magic Johnson to run the basketball operations department and serve as chief recruiter to the stars. Then she partnered him with Rob Pelinka, the longtime agent of Kobe Bryant, as general manager. The Clippers bolstered their front office by promoting the widely-respected Lawrence Frank to work with coach/president of basketball operations Doc Rivers, then added Lakers Legend Jerry West as a consultant for good measure.

But it’s the once-mighty Lakers who spent the past few seasons getting lapped, and who still have so much work to do if there’s any hope of a return to prominence. To that end, with the reality facing them that there was a 41-game gap between their win total and that of the champion Golden State Warriors last season, they did all they could do in Thursday night’s draft.

Lonzo Ball shouldn’t be seen as some sort of Lakers savior, no more than past Lakers picks like Julius Randle, the recently traded D’Angelo Russell or incumbent Brandon Ingram were ever worthy of playing that role. But the UCLA product who was taken No. 2 overall by the Lakers is the kind of building block that keeps their momentum going, a point guard who has all the potential to be nothing short of special.