Kobe Bryant was off the Los Angeles Lakers roster for the first time since the 1995-96 season. L.A. was fully committed to a rebuild, and they had the talent to make it happen.
After the 2016 NBA Draft, the Lakers had Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Ivica Zubac to make up their young core. This group was better than last season, but still not necessarily competitive.
They went 26-56 and were the third worst team in the NBA, meaning it would be another date with the lottery.
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant became a villain by joining up with the Golden State Warriors after losing to them in the Western Conference Finals the year before. This created one of the greatest teams in NBA history, a team that went 67-15.
The Warriors had legitimately no troubles in the playoffs. They swept all three of their conference opponents to get to the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was LeBron James’ seventh straight Finals and third against the Warriors.
James and the Cavaliers were no match, as they lost in five games. The Warriors won their second championship in three years and Durant secured his first ever.
NBA regular season statistics
NBA regular season schedule and results
NBA playoffs statistics
NBA playoffs schedule and results