Archive for July, 2015

New Look Lakers…Again

July 23, 2015

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Well, ladies and gentlemen, here we are again. We are a few weeks away from training camp and the subsequent 2015 pre-season. Last year the Lakers accepted a consolation prize in Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin after Melo, Lebron and Pau kindly refused thier offers. They added a few more pieces and drafted Julius Randle at number seven and were expecting a healthy Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. The Lakers Optimist expectations were that we had a paint focused and defense oriented team with solid point guards running the offense, Kobe being Kobe and the Lakers would redeem themselves from a miserable 27-55 season…

But then the injuries came… Nash hurt his back carrying luggage. Swaggy P hurt his thumb trying to steal the ball from Kobe. Jeremy Lin tweaked an ankle. Julius Randle broke his leg in the first game. Ryan Kelly had hamstring issues… Then Kobe hurt his shoulder… And by the middle of the season it was time to tank— ahem, test out our youth. The Lakers ended up with a depressing 21-61 record.

So we turn the page, but not before asking ourselves what happened? Okay injuries aside, the Lakers were overmatched at virtually every position. But if you look more closely, the Lakers lacked any perimeter defense. Once that defense was broken down there was no rim protector outside of Ed Davis occasionally. They had no true center and got outrebounded routinely every night. The small forward position was all but none with the sometimey Wes Johnson and the struggling Nick Young…and Ryan Kelly…really?

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Well the off-season rolled in. Lakers got the 2nd pick which became D’Angelo Russell, addressing a glaring need for a floor general. Jordan Clarkson also proved that he can run the team. They also increased in youth at that position to hopefully keep up with the fast-paced guard centric league. Lakers then addressed the gaping hole in the middle by trading practically nothing for all-star Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is an instant upgrade defensively. In spite of his underwhelming performance last season, all we need for Roy to do is play defense and catch and dunk. Additionally, the Lakers picked up undrafted elite shot blocker Robert Upshaw. He was one of few bright spots of summer league, so much so that he signed a contract with the Lakers. Depth in the middle is official.

Lakers addressed their small forward issue by drafting 3 and D guy Anthony Brown who shot 40% from distance and also showed promise in summer league as well. Furthermore, Kobe Bryant being moved to small forward this season will give them a star at that position.

Lakers then added some toughness and depth to thier frontcourt by signing free agent Brandon Bass and drafting energy and defensive gem Larry Nance Jr. Not to mention Julius Randle is back and poised to bring bully ball to that power forward position. They also gave a major boost to thier bench by signing 6th man of the year Lou Williams. It’s quite possible you’ll see Nick Young and Lou Williams giving teams fits defensively on that 2nd unit.

This does not include potential break out combo guard Jabari Brown and Tarik Black who are both returning for thier second year.

Gone from these Lakers are Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Wes Johnson, Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington. But I like who remains.

I’d be surprised if the Lakers dont at miminum hit 45 wins and really shake up the western conference. The key is for this team to be healthy. My starting lineup looks like this from 1 to 5.

Russell
Clarkson
Bryant
Randle
Hibbert

Stay tuned for more blogs as we get set for an exciting training camp and pre-season!!