The Los Angeles Lakers did not acquire the targets they originally set out to get this season, but the team still made some very solid pick-ups and now look like a very intriguing team going into the season. Veterans Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, and Lou Williams combine with young players D’Angelo Russell and a returning Julius Randle to give the Lakers an excellent combination of youth and experience that Kobe believes is excellent.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, they plan in the minefield that is the Western Conference. Despite that, Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears that the Lakers can still make the playoffs:
Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”
Making the playoffs will definitely be a tough task for the Lakers. On paper, there seems to be two playoff teams who could drop out in the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks. The Oklahoma City Thunder will surely return to the playoffs if healthy, leaving the Lakers to have to beat out the likes of the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and Sacramento Kings for that last spot.
If the Lakers are able to make a run, it will probably come down to the young players stepping up and realizing their potential. Kobe is already embracing the likelihood of playing small forward and is getting his body ready for what could be his final season.[divide]