I wonder if Kobe Bryant ever wonders if he should have retired after blowing out his Achiilles’ tendon? I’m sure it crossed his mind a few times in-between the gym and the bank…where he cashes those huge checks. He now finds himself trying to play with Swaggy P.
The Lakers are expected to be near the bottom of the NBA standings. Does Kobe have a little magic left in him? If things go bad, how does Kobe handle losing?
We will be posting a team preview for every team up until the start of the regular season.
Here is the 2014-15 NBA season preview for the Los Angeles Lakers.
2013-14 Win/Loss Record: 27-55
Key Additions: PF Carlos Boozer, PG Jeremy Lin, PF Julius Randle, SG Wayne Ellington, PG Ronnie Price, PF Ed Davis, SG Jabari Brown, PG Jordan Clarkson & SG Roscoe Smith
Key Losses: PF Pau Gasol, PG Steve Nash, SG Jodie Meeks, C Chris Kaman, PG Jordan Farmar, PG Kendall Marshall, SG Kent Bazemore & SG MarShon Brooks
Projected Starters: Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson, Kobe Bryant & Jeremy Lin
Fantasy Sleeper: PF Julius Randle – Randle was a stud at Kentucky and now finds himself coming off the bench in Los Angeles. Carlos Boozer will start the season as L.A.’s starting power forward, but we will see how long that lasts. There’s a reason why Boozer started to lose minutes to Taj Gibson. He’s not as athletic anymore and can’t seem to finish at the rim. He shot 45% from the field last season, the lowest of his career. As the Lakers begin to fall down the standings in the Western Conference, Kobe will begin to call for a change. Randle will progressively average more minutes each month of the season.
Team Analysis: The Lakers were lost without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash for most of the season. They banked one their veterans to carry the team full of relatively young and unknown talent. Pau Gasol missed a little time himself, but by that point, the season was lost. The Lakers ended up with starting lineups full of guys like Kent Bazemore and Kendall Marshall. Needless to say, they were not prepared for a Kobe-less season.
The Lakers upgraded their roster by adding a couple veterans. Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin are dependable talents who have played in big games. Not exactly Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher in their primes, but the roster couldn’t get much more worse than last season’s roster.
If you think the Lakers will try to tank a few games here and there to actually keep their pick (Suns own rights to Lakers 2015 first-round pick from Steve Nash trade), you’re wrong. The pick is top-five protected, so the Lakers need land in the top five in the Lottery, or the pick goes to Phoenix. I don’t think Kobe has tanking in his DNA. The Lakers will win the games against teams like Philly, Orlando and the handful of other teams trying to dictate their high position in next year’s NBA Draft.
This season is all about Kobe scoring as many points as fast as he can. He had a goal to surpass Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list. Kobe might have a little magic left and I wouldn’t be surprised if they accidentally won 35 games.
2014-15 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 32 (Prediction: OVER)
2014-15 Projected Win/Loss Record: 34-48 (13th in Western Conference)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.