This off-season, ESPN’s Forecast panel predicted the Los Angeles Lakers will finish 12th in the Western Conference and will encounter the most turmoil this upcoming season. Unfortunately, it seems like most are in agreement as there is a lot of uncertainty that surrounds this year’s team.
In an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com, an Western Conference scout was rather optimistic about the Lakers this season:
“I do expect the Lakers to be competitive again. I think they’re a playoff-caliber team. I don’t know if they’re going to be one of the top-tier teams in the West.”
The scout also believes the Lakers will be playing more of Mike D’Antoni’s style and the newest additions will provide a spark:
“They’re going to be back playing more of Mike D’Antoni’s style. You got a guy in Jordan Farmar who is going to be able to play in that style. Nick Young is an athlete, a guy that can get up and down the court and can really score coming off the bench. Wes Johnson is a guy who can space the floor for them, hopefully.”
However, there is a concern on the defensive end as the scout believes D’Antoni is a tremendous offensive coach:
“I just don’t know that that’s a strength of Coach D’Antoni. I think he’s a tremendous offensive coach and I know his philosophy is, ‘ Well, if we outscore the opposing team then we’ve played good enough defense.’ He’s basically said that in the past.”
Despite all the criticism, Mike D’Antoni is a great offensive mind who finally has players that fit his system and most importantly, a full training camp. While the defense is a concern, D’Antoni does recognize the importance of that side of the court and brought in a defensive-minded assistant coach in Kurt Rambis, who will implement a system that minimizes the team’s deficiencies.
Compared to ESPN’s Forecast panel and the majority of the media, the Western Conference scout made fair assessments about the Lakers this upcoming season. The Lakers’ chances to make the playoffs obviously hinge on Bryant’s return, but if this team remains healthy, their chances are much higher than everyone’s expectations.
Check out this year’s Nike 3On3 Slam Dunk Contest above and don’t forget to subscribe to our Lakers Nation YouTube Channel!