The 2015-16 Los Angeles Lakers were focused on two things. The first was saying farewell to Kobe Bryant, who was finally healthy again, but announced that he would retire at the end of the year. Nearly every game felt like a separate goodbye, as opposing teams would give him gifts on his way out of the NBA.
The second was rebuilding. Via the draft, the Lakers finally had some young talent. Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Larry Nance Jr. were the beginning of the future of the Lakers, but their first season together did not result in wins.
For the second straight year, the Lakers set a franchise record for worst regular season win percentage, going 17-65. They were the second worst team in the league. However, it didn’t seem to matter when Bryant put up 60 points in his final NBA game, one of the Lakers 17 wins that season.
They missed the postseason for the third year in a row, setting another record for franchise futility.
In the postseason, it seemed there was no stopping the Golden State Warriors. They went 73-9 during the regular season, setting a seemingly unbreakable NBA record. They got to the Finals with relative ease, with the exception of a seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and there they would once again face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This was James’ sixth straight Finals appearance, and this time he would have a fully healthy team. The Warriors were in complete control, up 3-1 in the series. However, James and the Cavaliers were unfazed. They won game five in Oakland, setting up a sixth game in Cleveland. They dominated there, and miraculously forced a Game 7 at the Warriors arena.
Game 7 quickly became an instant classic and one of the greatest games in NBA history. Massive plays by James and Kyrie Irving helped the Cavaliers down the Warriors, completing the greatest comeback of all time and securing James’ first championship with the team that drafted him.
NBA regular season statistics
NBA regular season schedule and results
NBA playoffs statistics
NBA playoffs schedule and results