By Joseph Crevier @JosephMCrevier on August 20, 2014
The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has been on a downward spiral since winning back-to-back NBA Titles in 2009 and 2010. Injuries, lack of draft picks and Dwight Howard have all played prominent roles in this collapse, but the real catastrophic moment was Kobe Bryant tearing his Achilles tendon. Los Angles sought improvement this offseason by making a multitude of changes to the roster in hopes of being much more competitive in 2014-15.
Point guard has constantly been an issue for Los Angeles. Steve Nash was supposed to be the solution to this problem, but injuries have obviously upset that plan. When Mitch Kupchak was presented with the opportunity to steal Jeremy Lin, he acted quickly to acquire him. Lin may not be an elite point guard, but he will give the Lakers a consistent effort on the floor offensively and defensively. He should complement Kobe Bryant pretty well.
Bench production was never much of a problem last season when everybody was healthy. When the injuries began to pile up though, there was really no bench to substitute in. Los Angeles smartly re-signed key role player such as Nick Young, Xavier Henry and Jordan Hill, while also signing Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer to bolster the front court. As long as the starting unit produces, the Lakers are in good shape rotation wise.
The Mike D'Antoni experiment was an epic failure. Fans disliked him from the very beginning, and the odds were never in his favor. D'Antoni's lack of leadership was evident multiple times, even publicly criticized at times by Pau Gasol. Hiring a man who is familiar with the Lakers and beloved by the fans, who focuses primarily on defense, will translate perfectly to the Lakers.
Starting or not starting, Julius Randle is going to be an absolute beast. Known for his rebounding ability, Randle's talents will translate perfectly to the NBA, despite being a bit undersized. To truly understand the rave about Randle, one must watch his Summer League performance where he appeared to be the next coming of Lamar Odom. Of course he has plenty to work on still, but he will have an immediate impact in the NBA.
The Lakers had a terrible 2013-14 campaign -- there is no denying that. Where the critics come up short is that they are forget that the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, is returning this season at full force. Yes, he will be required to adjust his game and yes, he is unlikely to be the Kobe Bryant we've become accustomed to. But I can confidently say, Bryant will figure it out. There is simply no possible way that he will be unsuccessful.
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