The Lakers’ failed to secure the services of either Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, and it looks like Kevin Love won’t be bringing his talents to Hollywood. However, the successful franchise did manage to acquire Jeremy Lin and veteran power forward Carlos Boozer.
Even though Boozer and Lin are good players, it’ll take some tremendous coaching and man management from the incoming coach, expected to be Byron Scott, to make LA a championship contender.
Kobe Bryant looks driven and determined, as always, to win his sixth ring. The 16-times NBA All-Star will be the vocal point of the team, but he’ll be hoping oft-injured Steve Nash can summon some of the form that made him MVP twice, in order to push for that elusive championship. If Kobe matches Michael Jordan’s total, he’ll have to do it without his longtime teammate Pau Gasol.
Now that Gasol is with the Chicago Bulls, here is what I think LA’s starting lineup will look like in the upcoming season.
If the Lakers have closed their checkbook, Jordan Hill looks destined to be the team’s starting center. The former University of Arizona player is coming off his best year in the NBA. He played 20.8 minutes per game, shot 54.9 percent from the floor, scored 9.7 points and grabbed 7.4 rebounds per game.
With Gasol gone, this is Hill’s opportunity to capture a starting position and have a breakout
season. Bleacherreport.com’s Ben Leibowitz wrote, “As long as the dreadlocked big man stays
healthy, he’ll provide the Lakers with a much-needed interior presence to replace the outbound
Lakers’ highest pick in the draft, Julius Randle, is a bright prospect that’s athletically superior and possesses good basketball IQ, but the rookie doesn’t have enough experience to bench Boozer. The 32-year-old shot 52.3 percent from the floor last season, scoring 16.6 points and grabbing 9.8 rebounds per game. He also led the Bulls to the playoffs.
There’s no doubt that he’ll be the Robin to Kobe Bryant’s Batman, but the uncertainty lies with his inconsistency. The trio of Randle, Ed Davis and Ryan Kelly should pick up his slack.
LA is very thin at the small forward position. At the moment the always entertaining Nick “Swaggy P” Young is a step ahead of Wesley Johnson because of his ability to put points on the board. However, Swaggy P tends to lose his mind on the court and he’s proven to be a valuable asset to have coming off the bench. For this reason, it’ll be safer to have Johnson on the court at the beginning of the game.
Without a doubt, Bryant is the starting shooting guard. The 35-year-old is at the twilight of his career, but that doesn’t mean he isn't capable of taking over a game. Only two players, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, are better scorers than Bryant.
Because of his youth, energy and previous experience as a starting point gaurd, Jeremy Lin edges out Nash and Jordan Clarkson. If he can bring back the explosiveness and excitement that made him a household name during his time with the New York Knicks, the 25-year-old and Bryant can form a lethal backcourt.
With his injury issues, it'll be better if Nash comes off the bench. The 40-year-old would be the ideal leader for the bench players and he'll play an important role in the final minutes of games.