We are quickly approaching the 2016-17 season and players are voicing their outlook on the incoming season. Everyone is ready to get started and toss the ball up after a long summer away from playing.
This is the first season in what feels like years that two beleaguered franchises, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, have the small stirrings of hope among their fanbases and players heading into future.
It’s been a rough go of things for both of these former marquee organisations and they’re looking to turn the corner. Neither team had a great showing last year with Carmelo Anthony being injured after last year and growing pains on the West Coast.
There is real reason for excitement on both coasts with the off-season acquisitions and roster shake-ups that occurred this summer. A pair of new coaches will take the sidelines and try to bring these tortured fansbases back to their former glory.
Here are the best things coming out of training camp for the Knicks and Lakers heading into next season:
New York Knicks
The New York club made a big splash this summer by trading with the Chicago Bulls for Derrick Rose and acquiring Joakim Noah in free agency. Now, the team has a front line that will be better equipped for defence and a star point guard to run the show.
Also added in free agency were scoring guards Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee. Both of these players are leaving situations where they experienced mixed results to play for a star studded lineup in one of the league’s premier markets.
The All-Star point guard made some waves earlier this summer when he said that the Knicks were one of the “super-teams” in today’s NBA. While no one outside of the locker room is saying that, Lee and his other teammates believe it to be true.
Lee offered this to Basketball Insiders: “We’re contenders, man. They didn’t make the playoffs last year, but we’re looking to change that and win big. The ring is the ultimate goal for everybody on the team; I know it is for me.”
They’ve gotten rid of a lot of the youth and replaced it with stable veterans. That means that New York’s best basketball team is all in. It should be a fun year in the Garden if everyone can stay healthy.
Los Angeles Lakers
The LakeShow is coming off of the Kobe Bryant retirement tour and drafting Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. They are bringing back young pieces in DeAngelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
The young players are reportedly thrilled with their new coach and are excited to get out on the court and prove that they can operate in a world without the Black Mamba.
Nance Jr voiced his pleasure: “Since Luke [Walton] has gotten here, the culture has kind of changed.”
The young Lakers were going to need a complete 180-degree turn to right the ship after a dismal season last year. It’s time to start building for the future and that begins with Ingram and Russell as a dynamic duo.
Hopefully, they can continue in the lineage of other powerful one-two punches in franchise history and bring Los Angeles’ most popular team back to respectability.