After two seasons of horrendous basketball, there is legitimate reason for optimism for the Lakers and their fans. The Lakers’ roster went through an influx of young talent after drafting D’Angelo Russell with the second overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft and 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle looking completely healthy again. Breakout stud Jordan Clarkson completes the trio of prospects for the future, establishing a promising foundation for years to come.
Graphic via latinpost
This year’s influx of young talent is complemented with the return of Laker legend, Kobe Bryant after injuries have limited him to just 41 appearances in the past two seasons. Come opening night, in which the Los Angeles Lakers schedule has them slated to host the Minnesota Timberwolves, it will interesting be see as to the dynamic between Kobe and the new youth movement. With Byron Scott opting to move him up to the small forward position, it remains to be seen whether or not Kobe, who will be 37 come tip-off, will adapt his game to the suit players around him.
Though D’Angelo Russell struggled mightily in the Summer League shooting under 38% from the field while piling up over five turnovers per game, he didn’t show any serious red flags. His rookie season will be by no means seamless, but his issues on the court seemed to be rooted in adjusting to the NBA game, an adaptation that’s historically proven to be tough for guards. This will make an interesting opening night for the rook, as they square off against No. 1 selection Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves. When the top two picks face-off, it’s always an entertaining 48 minutes as we could potentially be looking at two future faces of the NBA. The storyline with aging greats Kevin Garnett, who has assumed a mentor role for a young and insanely talented Wolves squad, and Kobe Bryant entering the twilight stages of their careers.
If the Lakers want to return to their winning ways, they’re going to need to change the culture of the franchise immediately. Last season, the men in purple and gold saw just one lonely win in their first ten games. For their upcoming campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers schedule seems very friendly, with six of their first seven games coming against teams that finished below .500 in the previous season. Getting off on the right start will not only bode well for their playoff hopes, but it will instill the right mentality in their youth movement.
Graphic via clipsnation