This week I’ve began a 3-week series of “NBA Team Trigger”, where I preview all 30 teams in anticipation for the season opener. On Wednesday, I just happened to be covering two of the most dysfunctional teams at this point in the big markets, the Big Apple and Hollywood. Funny how things work out.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Last Season: 21-61 (projected wins at 31.5) and missed playoffs
Key Additions: Brandon Bass, Lou Williams, Roy Hibbert, D’Angelo Russell (rookie)
Key Losses: Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman
2015-16 Vegas: 29.5 projected wins and 175:1 odds to win NBA Championship
The Lakers have, in my opinion, made some improvements this offseason. Their key additions are pretty substantial. It’s nothing like LaMarcus Aldridge, but to get Brandon Bass and Roy Hibbert, that’s fair enough. Bass and Hibbert get bad reputations (especially Roy) around the league, but if Kobe can get effort out of Hibbert, they may be able to put something together. Speaking of Kobe, I might as well put his name in the ‘Key Additions’, because he’s been hurt these past two years. They also get Julius Randle back. Hopefully he hasn’t lost a step since his broken leg (no pun intended, I promise) since his freshman year at Kentucky. The Lakers will finally get to see what Randle is capable of for this franchise.
Roy Hibbert may not be able to replace Jordan Hill, which for some reason, Laker fans valued. It seems as if the Lakers fanbase, after the Dwight Howard experiment blew up in their faces, they are just looking for a B- center at this point. Hibbert can be that.
Truly, I think the big question is, can Kobe Bryant stay healthy? He’s 37 years old and has played a total of 41 games the past two years. That means he’s only played 25% of the Lakers games the last seasons! There’s no doubting his heart, or even his talent, when it comes to the sport. There should be great curiosity if Kobe can still contribute 20 a game, but play in about 65-70 games. I feel he can be a vocal leader and get the most out of newcomers Russell, Hibbert, and Williams.
Do I see this team who can make the playoffs? Absolutely not! I don’t believe I’d even have this team making it in the East. I feel the projected wins has it right, they should, SHOULD, improve on their 21-61 record from last year. But unfortunately, we can’t expect 35 wins from this team. I’d be amazed if they win thirty, especially if Kobe Bryant can’t stay upright. But in a crystal clear nutshell, the Lakers are going to see what they have instead of push for their normalcy, which is the playoffs and competing for championships.
What do you think the Lakers can do this season? Let me know in the comments section below your expectations!