Kobe Bryant will go down in history as perhaps the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time. His contributions to the team, franchise, and the overall sport of basketball simply cannot be understated after an incredible 20-year career. Of course, Lakers fans will also always appreciate the five championships that he helped bring to Los Angeles.
Now, the Lakers venture into uncharted territory without their superstar guard, hoping to rebuild their once-great franchise. They have assembled an impressive collection of young talent and now must find a way to develop them both individually and collectively.
In a recent interview with Time Warner Cable’s Mike Bresnahan, Bryant expressed his hope that the young Lakers will return to relevance soon.
“They have a really young core, a good core. Now it’s just a matter of them growing together. Having those pieces that mesh, and I think it’s a great opportunity at an age when their games are still developing, they can develop their games and their strengths around each other. They have a lot of potential, hopefully, they can put it together sooner rather than later.”
While the Lakers will certainly miss Bryant and his superstar status, his retirement does create an opportunity for new stars to emerge. In particular, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson all have the potential to someday become All-Stars.
Of course, Bryant is truly irreplaceable, but he is correct when he says that the young Lakers also have an incredible opportunity to grow together. Individually, they will almost certainly never have the impact that Bryant did, but collectively the young core may be able to get the job done. The young players will hopefully develop chemistry together during their formative years, ideally covering each other’s weaknesses as they improve upon their own individual strengths.
It’s a tall task, but one that the young Lakers appear eager to meet head on.