To say the L.A. Lakers had a brutal season last year would be an understatement. The team posted their worst ever record since moving to Los Angeles and Mike D’Antoni simply couldn’t take the circus anymore, so he resigned.
On the upside, at least Nick Young (also known as “Swaggy P”) was really entertaining and always gave fans something to smile about. Whether you would see jaw dropping circus shots that somehow went into the hoop, or a miss so hilarious, even Laker fans couldn’t help but burst into laughter as the season went down the drain.
Either way, you were getting still your money’s worth.
Now though, the 2014-15 season marks a new chapter for the purple and gold. It’s a chance to put the laughably bad 2013-14 season and start their journey back to being legit contenders.
So with that said, here are five bold predictions for next year.
Kobe Bryant will average at least 20 points per game
At the back end of the 2012-13 season, Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles heel and basketball fans all-round feared the worst. We feared that his legendary career was over and it finished in one of the worst ways possible.
However, he fought back and an injury that was supposed to have kept him out for close to a year was seemingly dealt in a little over half the time. But sadly, just six games into the new campaign he was down once again. This time it was his knee.
Kobe has now had plenty of time to recover from an injury that ruined so many careers. And next term, he will be determined to clean up an organisation that had witnessed become a laughing stock.
Even at the age of 36, with plenty of miles under his belt, the Black Mamba will average at least 20 points per game next season.
Steve Nash will play at least 41 games
Last year, the players of the Los Angeles Lakers missed a combined total of 319 games, which was the most in the league. Steve Nash contributed 67 games to that tally. So without Bryant’s scoring along with Nash’s pin-point passing accuracy and shooting touch, L.A. really didn’t have much hope.
Next season, the 40-year-old pass maestro will feature a lot more in what he say will probably be his year in the NBA. He will continue to unlock defense with his passes and punish defenders who give the slightest of room to show off his sweet jumper.
And he will do so, while appearing in more than half the games during the season.
Julius Randle will make the All-Rookie First team
Coming into his freshman at Kentucky, anyone could have made a case for Randle being the best player in the star studded class featuring Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Although when the NBA draft night came, he saw those two players go one and two, while he slide all the way to seventh, despite getting to within one win of the NCAA Championship.
In his rookie campaign, expect the lefty big man to come out playing with a chip on his shoulder and contend for Rookie of the Year honours.
Granted he faces some stiff competition within the team to even be the starter at his position, he will get ample minutes to showcase his skills. And with mentors like Bryant and Carlos Boozer, expect big things out of the teenager.
Lakers will miss the Playoffs
Although I’m convinced the Lakers will get a lot of production to from their key players and will be a lot better than last year, it is extremely difficult to see them make the playoffs out West.
The conference is simply too tough to crack right now.
Newly appointed head coach Byron Scott will get a lot of the players but to even have a prayer of being in the top eight, they will need at least a 50wins or somewhere near that. The closest thy will get is 40 wins.
Nick Young will compete for the Sixth Man of the Year award
With the likes of Jamal Crawford, J.R Smith and possibly even Dion Waiters, the Nick Young would have to put together a very impressive season in order to beat out the competition. However he certainly is capable of doing it.
Last year he was the leading scorer on the team with nearly 18 points per game. This time around he will be surrounded by better players, therefore should get a lot of easier looks at the basket.
Furthermore, Coach Scott will give him neon green light to near-enough any shots he pleases as he looks to make an impact coming off the bench. Don’t be too shocked he surpasses this year’s scoring mark.