#8 – The Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles trainwrecks? The Los Angeles tire fires. The one team that might rival Sacramento for the most unholy, catastrophic, my eyes are burning and yet I still can’t look away League Pass dream.

Kobe is excused from practice because he’s too angry at himself for missing shots. Head coach Byron Scott is calling the team “soft” (perhaps borrowing the term from that same Kobe Charmin endorsement) after letting two of the worst teams in the league average almost 125 points per game against a Roy Hibbert “improved” defense. Lolz they also gave up 80 points in the paint during that Kings game. And after a summer of being spurned by some of the game’s biggest stars, probably in some way related to a franchise worst 21 win season, it certainly hasn’t been the world’s greatest recruiting pitch so far in the early going.

There’s just so much wonderful bust potential here. Last year’s lottery pick Julius Randle has the speed and versatility to be a dynamic scoring big man but oh yeah, terrible on defense. Last year’s second round steal Jordan Clarkson has described himself as “terrible on defense” and will need to play out of position to give minutes to their first round selection this past summer D’Angelo Russell. Who is also terrible on defense. And dating Kendall Jenner.

And this team has Nick Young and Lou Williams. Who are terrible on defense.

It’s almost like you tried to build this team in a lab. Or maybe you just hopped into the Delorean and reverse engineered it from the future inductees to the Jalen Rose Champagne and Campagne Hall of Fame. It’s certainly a group of people who are going to love the Los Angeles lifestyle and may end up being the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and puts Jack in a Clippers jersey.

Really though, this entire season is going to be about Kobe, Kobe, Kobe. And, while I’m sure that will get almost as tired as the “Is Durant leaving OKC?” conversation, there is something truly special about the idea of the final completion of the changing of the guard in the NBA and the last season for one of the game’s greatest players of all time. My friend has already started talking about buying Knicks or Nets tickets for when the Lakers come to town just so he can have seen him play in person.

I’m not as excited for that, though, then I am for the terrible on-court shootouts. D’Angelo Russell hasn’t looked like the kind of guard prospect that the Nuggets have with Mudiay in Denver, but I’d always thought he was a perfect fit for the triangle and was praying he would fall to us on draft night. This team also has a lot of people in serious show-and-prove years, with the way Boston dumped Brandon Bass and the miserable handling of Hibbert in Indiana. AND HOLY SHIT I JUST LOOKED AT THE ROSTER THIS TEAM HAS METTA WORLD PEACE! Plus just the idea that the Lakers could break out a crunch time lineup that featured three of the league’s biggest hot dog ball hog players is beyond awesome. I mean, even just googling “Kobe shouts at Nick Young” brings up a huge host of youtube gems.

If this team thought there was an outside chance of sneaking into the playoffs, there is some serious delusion going on. However, unlike with the Kings, these guys should be pretty fun to watch on any given night with the firepower to keep up with just about anyone. Even if it does get ugly also with Russell and Randle and the emergence last year of Jordan Clarkson, these guys have three intriguing prospects who might just be members of the next great Lakers team. And if Kobe can help them develop into that while transitioning gracefully into retirement (HA!), then maybe missing the playoffs won’t be all that bad.

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