With the historical Kobe Bryant tour ending last season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been attempting to put together the pieces of a gigantic puzzle to be among the NBA’s elite teams again.
A new set of young and talented players, the addition of some seasoned veterans and wider breathing space in terms of salary (and Luke Walton) have been the foundation of the team’s building blocks.
Despite these changes though, some experts and analysts still think the young Lakers will be the worst western conference team this season. According to one of the biggest sports networks, ESPN, they predict that Randle, Russell, Ingram and the rest of the crew will finish the 2016-17 season with a measly 25-57 record.
Although an improvement from last season’s dismal 17-65, this obviously does not put them within arm’s length of what the team was seasons (as in about many cold winters) ago. A 25-57 record will also put them in the bottom three of the NBA, along with Brooklyn and Philadelphia-both projected to win 20 games.
The projection is definitely a bit of disappointing news, especially for fans of purple and gold, but according to head coach Luke Walton, the young Lakers team will not be judged on their win-loss record.
“The expectations, to me, aren’t going to be wins and losses, right now at least. The expectations are going to be the way we play,” he said, adding, “It’s about having an edge when you play, it’s about competing every single time on offense and defense, it’s about playing the right way.”
Coming out of summer camp with the Men’s Olympic Basketball team, the duo of Randle and Russell are showing that they are up to this challenge, gaining a nod from Paul George. Let’s hope that the rest of the crew are in the same nebulous of mentality to prove ESPN wrong- the Lakers will be the worst Western Conference team this season (not!).
PHOTO COURTESY: Kenneth Han/ Flickr