Even with the season still two months away, people have already begun predicting next season’s standings. ESPN Forecast panel had the Lakers slotted at 12th in the Western Conference with a 30-52 record, a slight improvement on last season.
Hall of Famer and Time Warner Cable SportsNet analyst James Worthy has a slightly more positive outlook for the Lakers next season according to the LA Times’ Ben Bolch:
Hall of Famer @JamesWorthy42 says Lakers could pick up 10 games from last season when they scored 120 and lost and possibly make playoffs.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) August 21, 2014
Worthy is obviously slightly biased towards the Lakers, but he seems to be pretty reasonable with his projections, though 10 more wins would likely not get the Lakers near the playoffs in the daunting Western Conference.
An improvement in the 10-win range, however, is completely feasible with the roster the Lakers have put together. Health will obviously be an important factor as the team has been decimated by injuries the last two seasons.
Nonetheless, adding Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle and others to a solid group of returning players. A possibly healthy Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash should allow the Lakers to be more competitive and experience more success than last season.
Add in the head coaching change to Byron Scott from Mike D’Antoni and the pieces are there to possibly surprise some teams. Worthy says Kobe will play at an All-Star level, if that’s the case, who knows what the Lakers can do.
Lakers Introduce Byron Scott (Part 4): One Promise To Lakers Fans