The Los Angeles Lakers, a team which has one of the greatest histories in modern basketball was in the headlines every game day, not because of resounding victories but one guy who bid adieu to the game last season, one of the greatest players of all time, the greatest to have played in the purple and yellow, 5 time NBA Champion, 2 time Finals MVP, 18 time All Star, who bears the numbers 8 and 24, KOBE BRYANT!
This veteran star ended his 20 yr long career which was all spent at the Staples center based franchise in a grand fashion even though the team managed to finish with the second worst numbers of the season 17-65. Kobe Bryant, who returned from an injury last season was mostly played from off the bench and alongside a very young team that more into learning from Kobe than to assist him win games.
The last season saw additions in Overall pick No.2 D’Angelo Russell along with the experienced lot of Mou Williams, Metta World Peace and Brandon Bass, signing through free agency. They lost crucial shooting guard in Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill and Ed Davis during the transfer period.With youngsters like D’Angello, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson having the experience of playing alongside the great Kobe Bryant for a season, this has helped them to grow a lot in terms of maturity and game sense. Kobe Bryant instilled in them, what is called the “Lakers’ attitude” to attack and be aggressive.
This season would see a change in the personnel as well as Byron Scott’s third year contract option was not considered. They have signed in The Golden State Warriors’ assistant coach Luke Walton, who took over the teams’ charges during the absence of head coach Steve Kerr and had a very phenomenal affect on the team’s performance and in breaking a lot of untouched records. Along with this, they again had the 2nd pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, which they used to pick 2016 ACC Rookie of the year and 6ft 9 small forward Brandon Ingram from Duke.
During the transfer season, they succeeded to rob in 4 time all star, veteran Luol Deng(SF) from the Bulls on 4yr contract and another veteran in Timofey Mozgov(C) form the Cleveland Cavaliers also on a 4yr tenure. Yi Jianlian is another big man addition to the line up as the 7foot Power forward comes back to play in the NBA after 4 long years. During the same period, the Lakers have lost last year’s addition Brandon Bass to the LA Clippers after he signed a one year contract and Roy Hibbert to the Charlotte Hornets also on a 1yr deal.
The starters for this Kobe-less-Lakers team (first time after 1995) might see last year’s impressive youngsters D’Angelo Russell(PG) and Jordan Clarkson(SG) open in the guard’s position with experienced Mozgov and Deng in Center and SF respectively as Julius Randle picks up the PF spot. Lou Williams and Brandon Ingram will be competing for the crucial 6th man position whereas Nick Young, Larry Nance jr. and Jose Calderon will form up the second team.
With such a wonderful blend of young talent alongwith some recently mentored rookies and extremely experienced players, Los Angeles Lakers look a potential threat in the conference with Luke Walton as the Head Coach who encourages the Lakers’ style of aggressive offense and tight defense. Can we find another Kobe in the youngster or even Kobe effect on the Lakers’ game?
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Photo by Keith Allison