I know I’m not the only one out there, but I still can’t get over the fact that Kobe Bryant is no longer playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
When the season started, Lakers fans such as myself, were stuck with the lasting memory of Kobe’s final game. Scoring 60 points in what will go down as one of the greatest final games ever which saw Bryant bringing the Lakers back from a deficit to go out on a winning note is something that will stick with Lakers fans for generations.
That being said, that was the past and the future of Lakers basketball seems very promising and fun to watch and look forward to.
With the emergence of second year players, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, to go along with third year player Jordan Clarkson and the number two overall pick of the draft Brandon Ingram; the Lakers are young, fast, athletic, and should be a team to tune into when given the opportunity.
With last season being basically being a run through due to the season being dedicated to the retiring Kobe, the young Lakers team has emerged here in the early season and have opened a lot of eyes.
Through 11 games, the Lakers sit at 6-5, third in the division, and are only 3.5 games behind their Staple Center neighbor Clippers and the now Kevin Durant led Golden State Warriors.
It may be only the first month of the season, but the Lakers have been better in basically every statistical category when compared to last season. From the offensive side, they are averaging 109.6 points per game while shooting over 47% from the field as a team. When compared to last year, they only averaged 97.3 points per game and shot only 41% from the field.
With key additions like Timofey Mozgov and new head coach Luke Walton, the defense has gotten a lot better as well. This season they are only allowing opponents to score 105.8 point per game and shoot slightly above 46%; compared to last season when they allowed teams to score almost 107 points per game and shoot 47% from the field.
Needless to say, this Lakers team is far better than the one that won only 17 games last season. They’re playing with a faster pace, they’ve had some key wins like one when they defeated the Warriors by 20 and had a come from behind win against the Sacramento Kings last Thursday. Both victories were nationally televised.
Yes, it is rough and will continue to be rough to watch a Lakers game without Kobe on the floor, but with this new young nucleus and direction of the organization, it will only be a matter of time until we see the Lakers fighting for NBA Championships and Conference titles again.
The Lakers next game will be Tuesday as the 4-5 Brooklyn Nets come to the Staples Center for the first of four game home stand. Tip off will be at 10:30 ET.