With the start of the 2013-2014 season approaching, Los Angeles Lakers fans speculate how the
team will fare this year. The previous injury-riddled campaign left most supporters of the purple
and gold wanting more and wondering what could have been.
With the high profile departure of Dwight Howard and the greatly anticipated return of Kobe
Bryant, it is difficult to determine exactly how the Lakers will look this season. Below is a
discussion of the new player acquisitions, returning stars and trends that Laker fans should look
for this season.
One of the best images for Lakers fans this preseason is that of Kobe Bryant running sprints up
and down the sidelines and shooting jump shots. The injured star appears to be close to a full
recovery from the Achilles tendon surgery that he underwent earlier this year. Without Bryant the
Lakers were a glimpse of their former selves, barely making the playoffs and bowing out in the
Many skeptics point to Bryant’s age and the nature of his injury as factors that will keep him
from playing up to normal Black Mamba standards this season. This preseason marked the first
time in 10 years that Kobe was not ranked first in the annual General Manager’s poll for the best
shooting guard in the league.
Other Injury Returns
Along with Bryant, the Lakers’ will be welcoming back Steve Nash and Jordan Hill from injuries
that kept them out for much of last season. The 2012-2013 Lakers were far from healthy as
they suffered injury blows to many significant players. This season, fans hope for the trend to be
reversed, anticipating that a lineup featuring three former all-stars will go the distance.
A theme for last season’s Lakers was poor defense. Some teams have a defense that’s formidable
and engulfing like a police spike strip or a mosquito trap, eliminating all pests. The Lakers’
defense is more like a sieve. Struggling to keep up with teams in transition and to pressure the
perimeter, it was common for the Lakers to give up triple digit scores to opposing teams.
This year the addition of the aforementioned guards and frontcourt players will give the Lakers
a presence both inside the paint and on the three-point arc. D’Antoni hopes to blend this young
athleticism with his veteran players to form an improved defensive unit.
Much of the Laker’s depth going into this season comes in the form of young players and new
acquisitions. During the offseason the Lakers picked up Nick Young, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar
and Kaman. While Farmar is back for his second stint in L.A., Young and Henry will be playing
their first season in a Lakers’ uniform.
Coach Mike D’Antoni will look for Young and Henry to serve as new scoring threats and Farmar will add depth to the point guard position. As for Kaman, he has a shot at earning a starting role at center in an effort to fill the void created by Howard’s departure. Kaman is a good defensive
player and rebounder, two areas that the Lakers hope to improve in.
This season will not prove to be a cakewalk for a Laker’s organization that has become
accustomed to success. The Western Conference will be extremely competitive. Teams such as
the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets have also added new talent in the offseason.
With hopes of reaching the playoffs and progressing farther than last year, the Lakers will rely on
the return of their injured core of stars as well as their promising new talent.
Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and long-time sports fan. He currently lives in PA
and with his wife and son, following and writing about all things sports and beyond. Follow Scott