There is no denying the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t a championship contender this season and that they likely won’t be one in the near future. With that in mind, we turn our attention to ESPN’s 2014 Western Conference Summer Forecast.
According to ESPN’s panel of experts, the Lakers are projected to finish 12th in the Western Conference standings and win 30 games during the 2014-15 NBA regular season. The panel also picked the Lakers to finish with the 12th best record in the conference last year. For the record, the Lakers finished 14th in the Western Conference and only won 27 games, they least amount of wins in one season since the franchise came to Los Angeles.
The Lakers will likely be a healthier bunch this season. How could they not be? Steve Nash played 10 games, Kobe Bryant played 8, and the rest of the team suffered through other significant injuries, not to mention Mike D’Antoni. You’d think the Lakers would be able to sneak out three more wins over the course of the season, especially when you consider that Kobe Bryant is apparently 100% healthy. If Kobe plays more than 50 games this season, the Lakers are likely going to eclipse the 30 win mark.
However, do we really know what we’re going to see from this version of the Lakers? We’re still unsure about what Kobe has left in the tank, though Kobe is the last person you’d want to challenge. We don’t know how Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, and Robert Sacre are going to fit together in the frontcourt. We have no idea if Steve Nash still has a basketball pulse anymore. We also don’t know who is going to be the starting small forward or how new coach Byron Scott is going to use all of these guys together.
It’s likely going to be another long year in Laker land. Is 30 wins and a 12th place finish a reasonable expectation? Do the Lakers have a shot at sniffing the playoffs? Or is this team destined to end up in the lottery, only to fork their pick over to the Phoenix Suns?
There’s a lot of questions. We won’t know any answers until games start meaning something on October 28th against the Houston Rockets.