With Low Expectations, The Lakers Aim To Surprise

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With a proven trio as a foundation, players like Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly and Julius Randle will have opportunities to thrive. The Lakers growth this season will be largely dependent on what kind of production it can receive from its supporting cast.

Swaggy P

Mar 30, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young (0) celebrates after a 3-point basket against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Young had a breakout season last year but it remains to be seen how his style meshes with Bryant. The ability of  Bryant and Young to play extended minutes together will a huge key for the season. Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson each are utilitarian players who both can be effective corner shooters and feisty defenders. Each player has the talent to be more than they have previously shown.

Jordan Hill

Apr 13, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill (27) dunks between Memphis Grizzlies guard

Mike Conley

(11) and center

Marc Gasol

(33) during first quarter action at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Hill is this season’s x factor. He has been wildly productive as an offensive rebounder in limited minutes. With a controversial new $9 million per year contract, Hill enters this season with the most to prove. The dearth of effective true centers gives Hill an opportunity to live up to being the 8th player taken in the 2010 draft. With questionable depth behind him, Hill must mature from the inconsistent, foul plagued player he has been at times.