A lot is unknown with the Lakers going into next season. Uncertainty is a word commonly used with this team concerning a lot of aspects within the organization. While the team is currently in limbo, they will use this uncertainty as an advantage and an opportunity to rise above the challenges they will face during the season.
The 2013-14 Lakers roster is full of new and familiar faces and will be anchored by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. After a 2012-13 season filled with unmet expectations for the Lakers, players on this season’s team will have the chance to rebound and have a better season.
We asked our Lakers Nation roundtable writers who they think will have a standout season, and here’s what they had to say:
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I believe one of the new players (Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and Wesley Johnson) could have a standout season; however, I’m going to go with Pau Gasol here. I expect Kobe Bryant to come back strong, but perhaps not have the kind of season he had last season.
I also believe and hope that Steve Nash will have a healthy, productive season, but at his age, a standout season may be a bit far fetched. As for Gasol, however, I believe that if his knees indeed rejuvenate due to the procedure he had done earlier this summer, he can have a resurgent season.
Gasol has been playing out of position and out of his comfort zone for the majority of the last two seasons, and he should regain confidence in the fact that he’ll once again be the second option for the Lakers. With a full training camp, willingly being placed in the low post by the coaching staff, and having a team alongside him that’s eager to prove skeptics wrong, Gasol can be a major facor for the Lakers.
He’s stated his desire to once again establish himself as one of the premier players in the league and is also in a contract year, which could be another motivating factor.
All in all, Gasol should have a much better season overall than last season as he’ll be placed in his more natural positon. If he can remain healthy and motivated, he may just have a season more like the ones he had in 2008-2010, rather than the ones he did in 2011-2013.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): With the Los Angeles Lakers going through a drastic change during the NBA offseason, I’ll believe Pau Gasol will be poised to have a standout season.
Last year, Gasol struggled to adjust to Mike D’Antoni’s system while playing in the shadow of a one-dimensional Dwight Howard. With Dwight headed to the Houston Rockets and Gasol shifting more than likely shifting back to the center position, the Spaniard will be in his element once again.
One of the main reasons I believe Gasol will be able to breakout during the 2013-14 NBA season is a healthy Steve Nash running the showing in the backcourt. Gasol will be an ideal pick-and-roll partner for Nash and without Dwight clogging the paint, it should be a match made in heaven.
Along with Nash and Gasol potentially becoming a lethal combination, the Lakers’ coaching staff will likely look to the two-time NBA champion to provide most of the offense with Kobe Bryant possibly missing considerable time. Even though Kobe claims to be making a miraculous recovery and may not even miss a game as a result, Gasol will still have to shoulder more of the scoring load and has already said to be up to the challenge.
Another factor that comes into Gasol set to have a breakout season is the fact he’s in a contract year. Gasol stands to benefit greatly from bouncing back this season as he’ll potentially be auditioning for a job or at least an extension with the Lakers.
All indications point to Gasol being the player that will standout amongst the rest.
Ramneet Singh (@RamneetSingh24): I expect a lot out of Nick Young this upcoming season and see him being a contributor for the team once things get under way. It appears as though Young will be the starting small forward for the Lakers, a great compliment for Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers are in need of some explosive players, and Young is someone who fits that profile. Not only can Young help spread the floor with his shooting, but he is someone who can get in the open court on fast breaks. Los Angeles struggles against some of the younger teams in the league, and although Young can not single handedly fix the problem, he is someone who can help alleviate the pressure off his teammates with more speed and athleticism.
Young will also shine under the Mike D’Antoni offense, which relies on run-and-gun basketball and the ability to make perimeter shots. The Lakers got a great addition in the former USC Trojan, and he will surely please coaches and fans in the 2013-14 season.
Elizabeth Benson (@gobibs): I am anticipating seeing what Nick Young can do offensively and athletically for the Lakers, but am hesitant about his defense, I also firmly believe Steve Nash will have a much improved season and will contribute more on the level of what Lakers fans expected last season (as much as his health and age allows him to).
However, I think Pau Gasol is most poised for a standout season. I feel that Gasol’s return to the low post will bring out a more comfortable and much more effective and efficient Gasol.
As Kobe Bryant mentioned Thursday night at “Kobe Up Close,” the Lakers were going away to what played a major role in them winning back-to-back championship in 2009 and 2010, concerning Gasol’s role on the team.
Therefore, I am anticipating a standout season with Gasol featured in the post, running pick-and-roll/pop plays with a healthier (hopefully) Nash and with more stable knees to carry him on the court.
The biggest reason why my choice is Pau Gasol is that I believe having a firm and clearly defined role on the team and a full training camp with Mike D’Antoni should motivate the Spaniard to return to better form for himself and for the team.
Lakers Nation interviews Nick Young at the Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal at L.A. Live. Be sure to subscribe to our Lakers Nation YouTube channel by clicking here!