NBA Fantasy Basketball Draft News 10-8-2015
LA Lakers face Uphill Battle in Western Conference Playoff Race
The 2014-15 LA Lakers are coming off a very poor season a year ago. They finished with a mark of 21-61 which was the fourth worst record in the league. LA was 9-43 against the Western conference.
There are many areas of improvement for this club but most notably will be their play on the defensive end of the court. The team ranked 29th and near the bottom in points allowed per game (105.3) and in opponents field goal percentage (46.6%). They did have their bad breaks injury wise. It began in training camp as their number one pick Julius Randle was lost for the year with a broken leg. Veteran Kobe Bryant played in just 35 games.
Head coach Byron Scott enters his second year with the team and will have to deal with Kobe Bryant’s contract situation as the Hall of Famer enters his last year on his contract. Bryant hasn’t shown any interest in retiring and LA’s brass has mentioned that they have no intensions of extending Kobe’s contract once it expires at the end of the season.
If the Lakers double their win total from a year ago with 42 wins it will likely not be enough to make the playoffs in the difficult Western conference. The New Orleans Pelicans were the eighth seed in the Western conference a year ago and the final team to qualify into the postseason. Their record was 45-37. The question becomes will LA trade Kobe at the trading deadline to a contender because a drastic improvement isn’t likely with this team.
LA Lakers PG:
The Lakers first round draft pick was taken out of Ohio St in the 2015 draft. He is only 19 and will be 20 years old on February 23rd. There is lot to learn about this league and Russell will be matched against many of the talented point guards in the Western conference. NBA fantasy draft managers may want to wait a while before adding this rookie on their one day league rosters. He has to gain the trust of Kobe Bryant and that may take some time to develop. Biggest issues facing rookies in the NBA and especially point guards will be his defense and ability to limit turnovers.
One of the few positives to come out of last season was the development of Jordan Clarkson at the point guard position. He will back up Russell so his minutes will be dependent on how efficient Russell is. The Lakers second round draft pick from 2014 averaged 12 points a game and shot 44.8% from the field.
LA Lakers SG:
The 19 year pro has faced injury issues the past couple of years. His production has digressed. Kobe was a career 45% shooter who shot 37.3% from the field last year. He averaged 34 ½ minutes. Bryant a good friend of Byron Scott will most likely still call the shots on how many minutes he plays each night. With so much player turn over the past couple of years with the Lakers, Kobe could become frustrated and lose the team work necessary to help grow this young roster.
LA Lakers SF:
Young is an all offense and no defense type of player. He has bounced around the league and will never be an impact player on a good team. He fits the mold of an offensive star on bad teams who lose because they don’t defend. Has fantasy value when Kobe is not on the court.
LA Lakers PF:
Randle showed great potential last year in the preseason with a good presence around the basket. LA will miss a lot of shots and Randle will have opportunities for rebounds and put backs.
LA Lakers C:
He was signed by the Lakers purely for a defensive presence around the basket to prevent points by the opposition. In his days with the Pacers the team was great defensively. Hibbert’s size and strength allowed him the ability to rebound. Those Indiana teams bought into playing defense. With Kobe and Nick Young on the court that is a hard sell. For that reason Hibbert may digress defensively on this roster.