By Brian Zamora
The 2015-2016 Los Angeles Lakers season quickly came and went.
The past season saw numerous scandals, injuries, and a horrible relationship between head coach, Byron Scott and his players. With a franchise-worst 17-65 record, the Lakers and their fanbase desperately waited for the season to end.
The end of the season also saw an era in Lakers’ history come to a close, with the retirement of Kobe Bryant after 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The “Black Mamba,” as he is affectionately called, left a collection of accolades including 18 All-Star appearances, five NBA championships, and 33,643 career points, placing him as one of the greatest players of all time.
Bryant’s departure from the NBA came in part after a series of injuries in the past four years, including a torn a
chilles tendon that ended his 2012-2013 season. During his final season, Bryant was often absent from team practices, choosing instead to recover from their previous game. With a farewell tour consisting of video tributes, gifts and standing ovations, his career culminated with an incredible 60-point performance in his final game. Undoubtedly, Bryant started and ended his career in a legendary fashion.
Now that the Lakers have parted ways with Bryant, the team has to learn to play with a talented and younger core.
During the offseason, the Lakers quickly managed to transform their roster. Replacing the old-school Scott for a younger, more exciting Luke Walton, the Lakers now have a coach who can better connect with the team’s young players and develop a positive atmosphere, all while implementing a modern style of basketball.
Walton, who served as the assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, has a long history with the Lakers and their coaches. He was also a member of the Lakers with Bryant during their NBA championship victories in 2009 and 2010.
Phil Jackson, who served as head coach during the Lakers’ championship run, introduced Walton to coaching, inviting him to the meetings and film sessions when he had a back injury. As the Warriors assistant coach, he began learning about the triangle offense that Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, uses pieces of with Golden State.
The Lakers also selected Brandon Ingram, 19, with the second pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. Ingram, a lanky six-foot-nine inch small forward filled with defensive potential and knack for shooting, will make a great impact as a reliable shooter who can stretch the floor.
With the team’s core of Julius Randle, D’angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and now Brandon Ingram, the Lakers will be exciting to watch this season.
Despite their talent and potential, ESPN predicted that the Lakers will win only 24 games next season, but whatever happens, the future is bright for the Los Angeles Lakers.