The Lakers have a new roster this upcoming season. Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman, Nick Young, and Jordan Farmar bring different talent to Mike D’Antoni’s system. Considering the shortened rotations that Mike D’Antoni runs, this is essentially a new roster. These guys will be getting a lot of minutes beside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash; all considered the pillars of the current Laker squad. Considering these changes, what does success look like?
Last season was a nightmare for Laker fans. High expectations were brought along with the acquisition of Steve Nash and former Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight Howard. Pending health, this team was geared for a championship run. Instead, the team saw a coaching change, a system change, and a roster full of injuries. The starting unit didn’t have much playing time together and chemistry could not be built within the team. Dwight Howard took his talent to Houston, and the Lakers were left scrambling just to build a formidable roster. Kupchak did an amazing job considering he acquired quality starting talent despite having financial restrictions under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Do I expect much? No. If the Lakers make the playoffs, I’ll be excited just to see them compete. All I want to see is a team that is competitive on a nightly basis; one that doesn’t fall flat on energy on the road or on back-to-back games. Is there reason for optimism? I think so. Mike D’Antoni has players to run his system. He gets a training camp. He comes into this season with Nash, Bryant, and Gasol all coming back from injuries all having adequate time to heal. More importantly, the Laker team has a chance to build for the 2014 season.
What if the new Laker additions truly excel under Mike D’Antoni’s system? What if the Laker roster is able to stay healthy all season? What if the current squad is able to build chemistry as a unit? No matter what the win-loss column might say, that sets up a great foundation for the 2014 season. The Laker organization will always do their best to acquire starpower talent, and if the pieces fit just right, it won’t be long until there’s another championship banner hanging in Staples Center. While it may not be this year, as a fan, it’ll be nice to see a team overachieve from low expectations, instead of fail miserably from championship hopes. After all, Kobe said he wanted two to three more years as a Laker before hanging it up. He hasn’t given up on championship hopes. Neither should we.