NBA action tipping off

What to expect from LA Lakers

Burtland Dixon, Sports Editor


And from Lower Merion High School: standing at 6’6, starting at forward; Kobe Bean Bryant! With retirement looming, this upcoming opener could be the last for Bryant.

It’s certain that the past two seasons have not been particularly inspiring for the Lakers. From the departure of their all-star forward Pau Gasol two seasons ago, to accumulating the franchise’s worst record last season (21-61), things were looking dark in Laker Land. Now fans and critics wonder, can it get worse?

Luckily for the Lakers, rays of light may be starting to shine on them. Key additions such as last season’s 6th Man of the Year winner, Lou Williams, and 2014’s runner up to Defensive Player of the Year, Roy Hibbert, could prove viable, not to mention drafting the number two overall pick, D’Angelo Russell.

Russell won the Jerry West award for best shooting guard in the nation after only one season in college.  

Those additions are not the only thing to look forward to – guard Jordan Clarkson is poised for a breakout season. Last season he received All Rookie 1st Team Honors while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Earlier in the summer, when asked if the Lakers can make the playoffs, Bryant assured reporters that they can. Fans of the sport also believe the Lakers can make the playoffs behind certain stipulations.

Fifth year CSUSM student Tameem Amiri said “Jordan Clarkson becoming a scoring threat, D’Angelo Russell settling down and letting the game come to him” will be necessary for them to make the playoffs regarding the Lakers chances.

Surely, those two aspects have to play out, but Clarkson is not the only one who has to up his scoring. Last season the Lakers were ranked 22nd  overall in points per game in the NBA against Western Conference opponents at 97.8. That was only good enough to place  14th in the conference.

The Lakers play a majority of their games against the West. This will force the Lakers to up their scoring averages if they wish to compete for a playoff position.

Only two teams in the playoffs last season ranked lower than the top 8 in scoring averages: the Grizzlies and the Pelicans. The Grizzlies hang their hat on their defensive dominance and rode that talent all the way to the playoffs. The Pelicans snuck in, thanks to an orthodox, last-second game-winning shot from Anthony Davis.

Increasing scoring shouldn’t be a problem for the Lakers if they can stay healthy.

However, health has been a major issue for the Lakers the past several years, especially with Bryant and his unfortunate list of season ending injuries. Like Bryant, others say he will be okay.

“He’s fine. He’ll do his Mamba thing, but [Coach] Byron Scott has to watch his minutes,” said CSUSM alumni Evan Soto.

If all goes according to plan, the Lakers will be looking to snag a spot in the playoffs in what looks like Bryant’s last season.

The second night of NBA action tips off at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 as the Timberwolves head to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers.