Today: Jun 17, 2024

Achilles heel for L.A. remains out

Bobby MartinezSports Writer

NEW HAVEN — Many may say the Los Angeles Lakers roster heading into the 2013 season is terrible or they won’t even make the playoffs this season. The injury from an aging Kobe Bryant was a serious wakeup call and a sign for rebuilding.

    Last season was a disaster from the pre-season losing every game, starting the season 1-4 under head coach Mike Brown and making the playoffs by the skin on their teeth. But let’s look before all this happened. The Lakers traded for Dwight Howard and also received Steve Nash.

    Many people believed this team had what it takes to win a title over the defending champions Miami Heat.  Everything was all smiles in Laker land until the season started and many questions began to be asked. Can Brown coach all these star players? Who’s coming off the bench? Will the Lakers need to make moves within the roster if they plan to last?

    Then the move that shocked everyone – Brown has been fired five games into the season and was replaced eventually by Mike D’antoni. D’antoni has coached teams that play no type of defense at all. His run and gun offense has helped him win no titles with rosters that were stacked with talent.

    Since the D’antoni hire he has managed to coach the Lakers to a 45-37 record grabbing the seventh seed. During the 2012 season the Lakers witnessed Howard not being able to develop any type of post-game, Pau Gasol was benched numerous times and Kobe Bryant had too much on his shoulders.

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During the offseason the Lakers signed numerous key players who fit D’antoni’s system. Nick Young who is coming off a season with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaged 10.6 points a game. Young brings instant offense off the bench alongside Jodie Meeks as well. These two will mesh well together and help provide scoring each game.

    With the loss of Howard to the Houston Rockets, Lakers signed Chris Kaman who is a proven solid center that will help Gasol and Jordan Hill a lot down low if healthy. Down low the Lakers are still tall and would cause issues for teams that are not as big as the Lakers.

    Looking at a key loss during the off season was Metta World Peace and also Earl Clark. World Peace brought defense and also strange offense that for some reason did work for him. Lakers re-signed Jordan Farmer who was a part of the Lakers back to back championships in 2009 and 2010. Farmer will play a huge role as backup point guard for Nash who battled injury all last year.

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    A player that I like a lot that will fit perfect in D’antoni system is Wesley Johnson. Johnson brings length on the defense side of the ball and also athleticism to a Lakers offense that shouldn’t have to rely on Bryant all four quarters this season.

    But don’t get me wrong, Bryant will play a huge role on this team this year if they hope on making a serious run this year. Bryant who is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, is heading into his 17th year in the league and is owed $30 million this year.

    Bryant’s injury takes up to a year for recovering but Bryant said he is months ahead of schedule and working light daily on his Achilles.

“My tendon feels really, really good. I was really lucky,” said Bryant. “The trainers go with me everywhere. Family vacations, business trips they’re there all the time.”

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