2014-15 Record: 21-61
PG/SG D’Angelo Russell, SF Metta World Peace, C Roy Hibbert, PG Lou Williams
PG Ronnie Price, C Jordan Hill, SG Wayne Ellington, PG Jeremy Lin, SF Wesley Johnson, PF Ed Davis
Projected 2015-16 Lineup
PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Jordan Clarkson, SF Kobe Bryant, PF Julius Randle, C Roy Hibbert
X-Factor: Julius Randle
D’Angelo Russell is too obvious of an X-Factor. We all know that if he shoots 45% from three and controls the ball well, then they’re gonna be good. But, the Los Angeles Lakers will need some front court scoring and Randle may be the most likely place it could come from. Randle could be very exciting for the Lakers and only played 14 minutes in his “rookie” season. He still has all the upside in the world that landed him as the 7th pick.
Most To Prove: Roy Hibbert
This may be the perfect coach for a man like Hibbert, but that’s unfortunate for the Lakers as a whole. Hibbert is a plodder, pure and simple. Byron Scott doesn’t believe in fast pace or deep shots. If you’re going to hire a man like Scott, give him some pieces. Hibbert should help solidify the paint protection in LA, even if he has a better reputation than actual performance. The Pacers had a better defensive rating without Hibbert but had a lower FG% against with him. The markings of a possible mediocre paint protector. The Lakers will need Hibbert from years past.
Why They’re Worth Watching
There’s a good amount of young talent on this squad with the obvious names of Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. Watching them attempt to gel with Kobe and Hibbert will be interesting. They’ll be more fun to watch once the Lakers decide to move on from Byron Scott.
Kobe accepts his role as a facilitator and catch-and-shoot veteran a la Paul Pierce. The rookies and young players play well early and they make a run at the playoffs. 44-36
Much more likely on this side. The depth hurts them and Hibbert doesn’t protect the rim as possibly advertised. Kobe never returns to form and the rookies take some time to develop, as would be normal. 31-51