Why The Lakers Will Be Better Next Season Than Last Reviewed by Momizat on . If you ask Lakers fans whether the team will be better or worse off than last year, you'll probably get mixed responses. Are the expectations and goals as high If you ask Lakers fans whether the team will be better or worse off than last year, you'll probably get mixed responses. Are the expectations and goals as high Rating:
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Why The Lakers Will Be Better Next Season Than Last

Kobe, Gasol, NashIf you ask Lakers fans whether the team will be better or worse off than last year, you’ll probably get mixed responses.

Are the expectations and goals as high as last season? Certainly not.

However, I personally feel that the level of play will be significantly improved, and the season will be more pleasant overall.

First of all, I don’t think many have the Lakers pinned as championship contenders for next season, as almost everybody did last season.

In that sense, when the Lakers don’t hit 60+ wins, it won’t be a shock to anyone. Similarly, the losing streaks won’t be nearly as frustrating as they were last season.

Now, on to the brighter side of things.

The Lakers should be a much more cohesive unit. Where they often looked like a collection of players thrown on the court together last season with no chemistry, they’ll likely fit better together next season.

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Additionally, barring a ridiculously injury-laden season–one filled with more injuries than last season, which is nearly impossible–the Lakers should be a healthier bunch.

More specifically, if Pau Gasol’s knees improved after surgery over the summer and Steve Nash can stay relatively healthy, the team should have much more cohesion and the offense should be much more fluid. Kobe Bryant’s recovery is certainly the biggest concern when it comes to health, but fans can take comfort in the fact that the Black Mamba is doing everything in his power to come back at an elite level.

Injuries certainly played a part last season when it came to consistency (or lack thereof) on the floor, but age played a factor when it came to “bringing it” every single night.


While the Lakers’ core players of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash will be 35, 39, and 33 when the season starts, respectively, management has managed to infuse some youth in the forms of Nick Young (28), Jordan Farmar (26), and Wesley Johnson (26).

The versatility of Young and Johnson should allow Kobe Bryant to take his time recovering, and hopefully keep Kobe on the bench for a couple extra minutes per game when he does return–which was a huge problem last season. Adding Chris Kaman (31) will aide Pau Gasol as well, hopefully keeping him relatively fresh for the duration of the season.

The overall attitude and enthusiasm of the team should be much better as well, as all four players took less money to sign with the Lakers and genuinely are excited to put on purple and gold jerseys.

A full training camp should also benefit the Lakers, as Mike D’Antoni will be able to fully install his principles from the start, and the additions that have been made so far this offseason have given the coach players that fit his system.

Next Page: How The System Will Work Out Better

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About The Author

Suki is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and an unsigned contributing writer for Lakers Nation. Follow Suki on Twitter @TheRealSuki and Facebook. You can check out the rest of his work here.

Number of Entries : 181
  • Salvatore

    If you consider missing the playoffs as getting better, then yeah, you have a point.

    • nlruizjr

      Sal, I don’t think the Lakers will miss the playoffs, last season the team and coaching staff were completely out of sink (?) and they made it to the number 7 spot, this season we have a more balanced roster as far as youth and talent and we still have a few more picks to go, so I think the lakers will be the dark horse this season and will surprise !!!!!!

      • Eddie Lazaro

        The lack of training camp played a great part of it, new coach, new system, lots of injuries, never had enough time to build chemistry and gel. this time, Kobe coming back 90% playing point and barring another set back. The only way to go is to the TOP. they are already counting us out, but like you said, with a more balanced roster, fresh young legs with the talent and hunger, a couple more tweaks will bring us there. There will be no excuses for D’Antoni and his brother if Kurt join the team. He will have a D minded assistant who knows the Lakers.

  • Alex Echeverria

    I’n kinda liking the moves being made. after coward left, I see the future a little brighter for this franchise.

  • ra

    Replacing vets with Junior League players is a way to definitely change the team, but again, this is an attempt to rebuild Lakers to be like 2006 Phoenix Suns.

    I’m sure the players are good (they’re in the NBA, after all), but there are several levels of capability, and they may just be ‘average’ or ‘normal’ NBA players, rather than ones with unique abilities. E.g., on the 2006 Suns, Stoudemire played a ‘great’ role, Shawn Marion was a unique shooter (odd style, but worked well with Suns). Leandro Barbosa was the fastest man in the NBA (at the time). It was a collection of specialized and even exceptional players led by Nash, who relied on their unique talents to get into the playoffs.

    Not sure if the Lakers are that now, and it is clear that it is being constructed to be that way.

    In addition, they are in ‘debit’ in the defense department, and have subtracted 2 of the best defensive players in the last decade (DH, MWP – All defense, and DPOY several times). DH definitely confounded the Lakers own offense, and losing him for that reason is an upgrade. But losing both (a ‘close to the rim’ defender and a perimeter defender and ball stealer) is actually a ‘major’ downgrade in defense.

    Since playoff runs rely heavily on defense (since opposing players also have more days to rest, to recharge their offense), this is again clearly an attempt to go with the Suns method of ‘hopefully’ overwhelming the opponent with offense, and hoping that it overshadows the lack of defense (i.e., there will be high scoring games). And the end result could be ‘making it to the playoffs’, but counting out a long playoff run, and certainly not even coming close to a championship. Need more vets for that.

    The Lakers ‘might be better’ next year on offense (letting DH go), but ‘won’t necessarily be better’ next year on defense.

    • Suki Thind

      They’ll be much worse off defensively than last year, on paper. That’s why I really want them to bring in Rambis. Will he fix everything? No, but maybe some of his principles and emphasis on defense will get some of these guys learning and playing D more. In my view, this season is all about making strides, especially for the younger players. Essentially, they’ll be auditioning for a bigger role/salary next season. Whoever can prove that they’re a solid piece and can be well-rounded may get rewarded next season.

      • Eddie Lazaro

        I have seen that Lakers roster are filled with shooters and “on paper” lacking the defense we had last year, but remember, same thing was said in 2009 & 2010. Gasol is “soft”, Bynum “injured”. We demolished Orlando with the best defensive big man on their roster and eliminated the Celtics with all their swarming defense. It is all about team CHEMISTRY which was missing. Changing coach, missing the training camp, so many injuries and so on and so forth. These are lots of excuses given the amount of FHO in the roster. They just DID NOT CO-EXIST PERIOD!

        In the later part of the 2006-07 season, with a very young, inexperienced roster, Kobe (got cheated of an MVP) almost quit and asked to be traded. No one will assume they will win 40 games, let alone almost beat the (D’Antoni) Suns. Though they lost the first round after having a 3-1 advantage, it shows that an inferior (Piston x Lakers 2004) team with cohesion can rise up to the challenge and beat any potent, stronger team. Kurt will be a “Plus” on the D side and he got Kobe’s backs. He can polish some of the systems edges and instill the D they badly needed. I will not count them out while Kobe’s still in the “Helm”, we all have seen what he can do and if he comes back more or less on 90%, with the additions of these hungry fresh legs, this will be a very exciting year. mi2cents

    • Eddie Lazaro

      Over hyped D12 moved on, but never miss anything about him. For a fact, he is a lot more of a liability last year, being a Clown with the Circus he brought to town. We have Hill and Pau, though may have lost a couple of steps, but can still play 5 which he is productively comfortable. For sure, we will missed Earl Clark, his offense and at times, his athleticism on D, so with Metta who’s dedicated, maybe a shadow of himself 5 years ago, and still show signs of life from time to time. I got you but I won’t go as far a 2006 (D’Antoni) Suns. If you recall, we lost the first round with the 3-1 advantage because Kobe wants to be traded and almost quit the team. The lakers then have more cohesion than last year, but they still came short due to lack of depth. Stoudemire is not a max player and never will be, Nash made him better. You can see the spurts of his talent but can not bring it to form consistently, and that’s same with Howard. They both need to work and elevate their game to be better. That is how NBA is NOW. Kobe has been in the league for 17yrs, and still work his butt harder that anyone. He never stop learning and bring new things to his arsenal. Playing side by side with him, these youngsters will get the first hand of learning how to apply hard work, dedication and intensity to their games with the addition of his desire for winning and I for sure will not bet my two cent against the Lakers while Kobe holds the HELM, we all know what he can do.

      My main concern was the coaching criteria. D’Antoni is a good coach but like any coach or player in the league, they have to adjust and adapt. This is a new team (last year) and instilling a fast face Run n Gun system will not fit any team with no training camp, let alone having a starter line up of 3FOH who are fast their primes and additions filled with taped players with cast and Band Aids. Don’t take me wrong, all systems are great: if it was applied with (common sense) preparedness, proper rotation and player minute managements, that he Failed, has been failing ever since he came to the league. There are things he needs to consider to make the system works to his favor. Wonder why his team is always the highest scoring team almost every year and still always comes up short. It is because there are some seasonings missing, like the 7-8 player rotation. How can you win with worn out players on the floor while your fresh legs are freezing cold on your bench. It is not sprinting where you outrun opponents so fast hoping no one catches up with you before the finish line. We all know he loves to win, but It is an 82game grind, not adding the playoffs if he even make it that far. He also play favorites, stubbornly benching players he does not gel with, even if that player can help him get a win. Hell, if he will just tweak his idea a little and apply some common sense sometimes, He will probably go side by side with Phil on the coaching pedigree.

      • Jokobe

        You do make some valid points but saying D’antoni will go side by side with Phil in pedigree is absurd. Even if we put the rings and stat sheets aside, Phil is not a stubborn man. He knows how important relationships/chemistry on a team are and he has mastered the intangibles of coaching. Pringles man has a long way to go.

        • Eddie Lazaro

          I meant it with sarcasm.

  • Mark Webber

    We have too many white people on our team. Don’t think that is a good sign. I’ll be supporting them though.

    • Jim213

      lol?… What’s your limit?… most of the current Caucasian players on the roster are solid but no one and given any other player on the roster could step up to a Kobe like role, IMO.

      Although Nash could fill the position to an extent given his shooting ability he’s really a distributor. Hopefully some of these players acquired can step up and do the little things to help like rebounding and playing solid D. But we’d definitely be a better team than last year with a few more acquisitions.

      • Jim213

        Given that we lack depth in the forward position some players that IMO have stood out in the D League include Malcolm Thomas, Arinze Onuaku, Zach Andrews (athleticism), Tony Mitchell, and Jamelle Hagins. M Thomas plays with the LA DEFENDERS (Lakers owned team) and was the top rebounder for the league in the regular season.

        Given the cap situation the Lakers may need to call him up for his defensive game if things don’t pan out with other pick ups for the team. Although these players are solid they require a few more tools to have a solid future in the NBA. The other D-League teams would also have first dibs on the other players but if some would happen to be released they should be given consideration especially if things don’t pan out for us as we’d like or have come to expect on the floor (competitive team).

        Aside of MT I like Jamelle Hagins style of play on the paint given that his game reminds me a little of Elden Campbell though shorter by 1″ and not as massive body wise as EC but provided the right tools to develop his game he’d be a steal for any team though he’d also require more upper body development too. IMO.

    • Pat Oslon

      Don’t be silly; the only things that matter are; can they play and do they bleed purple & gold. Anything else is irrelevant.

    • nlruizjr

      Mark, that’s a plain stupid racist comment !!!!!!

    • Eddie Lazaro

      Your mentality is still so greatly segregated, you have to crawl back under the rock you came from and converse with your kind under.

    • Mel Anderson

      That’s a sick raciest comment. We really need more of that.

  • Jim213

    Good article, I also believe the Lakers will be more enjoyable to watch next season than last as long as everyone stays healthy. With our current roster I see us as a lower seed however if Lamar and a Kobe insurance policy could be picked up in the likely case that Kobe’s comeback gets pushed back then I place us in the lower top seed of the conference.

    I’d hope that management is considering trading a few players to improve on the roster too. IMO, Farmar will likely back up Nash which leaves S Blake as the third string. Farmar’s a stronger defender and will bring more offense to the court thus I’d be hard to place Blake at any other position other than guard given his size.

    • Suki Thind

      Thanks. As for Blake, he played really well towards the end of last season. However, he’s not really in the Lakers’ future plans, so if they can trade him away for future draft picks and get his salary off the books, they’d do it in a heartbeat. I think they’re trying to get under the cap (they’re $7 million over it), and it would be a good move. It’d help them avoid the “repeat offender” tax for a few years, I believe, and it would also justify them even more in amnestying Metta. All in all, the moves they’ve made have been solid, considering they’re trying to save as much money as possible in order to go big in 2014.

      My main concern even before Dwight had left was Kobe’s backup. He needed someone who can come in and be a defensive presence as well as a scorer behind him, so he could take his time recovering and somewhat limit his minutes. I think they’re looking to Nick Young to do that. He’s maybe not the defender they wanted, but he can put up some points and get his own shot. I’m sure they’ll be looking to improve throughout the season and looking for possible trades, thouigh.

      • Jim213

        Agreed, but I’m still looking at it from a wins and losses perspective. Got to stay competitive and IMO Kobe should comeback when 90% not when management would like him to return given that after 2014 Kobe will be renegotiating his pay too. Thus, he shouldn’t rush especially if he wants to play 3 to 4 more years.

        Kobe needs to look at this from a business sense too which I’m sure has been considered. He should return when he’s 90%, given that he’d also risk $$$ with another injury or re-injury then instead of Kobe going for ex $15-20 mil they’d offer him less than $10 or 5 mil or even vet if he seriously injured himself again next year given that he’d be considered a high risk for the future. By trading Blake and possibly Hill we could then get a Kobe insurance policy for the beginning of the season to hold the fort down buying Kobe more time to return to his competitive self… I don’t see the $20 mil man holding the fort just his wallet… and no one else is up to par with next season’s offense and chemistry to meet the challenge.

        Thus, I’d like if Nate Robinson could be considered as an insurance policy given this possible scenario. Although Nate is likely holding for a big contract… hopefully management could find a way to entice him to come play even for a year though they may have to dish out a little more $$ but if the Lakers wanted him they could acquire him for sure. This would also help with regards to team depth aside of really giving Dumbtoni the chance to mix up players in other positions too. IMO

        • Suki Thind

          I’m sure Kobe won’t come back unless he feels that he’s the best he can be. Obviously, his conditioning won’t be 100%, so I know what you mean by 90%. I’m sure even though he looks at every season as a championship season, he won’t rush things. In the back of his mind, he knows he has to be as strong as possible in 2014. Should be an interesting season, to say the least. lol

          • Eddie Lazaro

            Very good and unbiased input. I have read so many articles about the Lakers and this is the fairest of them all. Seen all the points and there are not much to argue about them.
            My concern was Mike D’Antoni’s system. I know he loves the Run n Gun and the Pick n Roll. Pick n Roll is easy, not energy consuming and if played well enough, it is hard to defend, commonly used. Even now, lots of coach used it with the Pick n Pop as combination.
            On the other hand, Run n Gun is a totally different system. It is designed for younger, more athletic and quicker legs to out sprint and outrun their opponents for offense to get going. It requires a lot of long, accurate outside shots to succeed and is very energy consuming. Quickness, great timing and a balanced player rotation plays an important factor in an assault to outnumber opponents. It require players minute-management (to keep their fresh legs, esp back to back games) that is something I have not seen from MDA system. All I’ve seen these past few years is the Run n Gun part, sub-par rotation and no player-minute managements. “We Do Not Have Fresh Legs” to keep up with it. What we have are 3 future HOF that already lost a couple of steps plus the few younger additions and though they are still at high level and competitive, often times they are at lost and can’t keep up in guarding younger, quicker more athletic opponents. mi2cents.

          • Suki Thind

            Thanks for the compliment, and for the feedback as well. Very good points.

          • nlruizjr

            That’s where controlling the boards will come in, to keep the run & gun from opposing teams down, therefore Gasol, Kaman and J. Hill will need to compete for every board and not just the ones that bounce their way. Why they kept Sacre is a Mystery, there are way better F/C on the D-L, who can contribute much, much more.

  • 3339

    still think dantoni is going to have to be fired soon. but at least all the players want to be here, that alone should lead to improvement

    • Eddie Lazaro

      They are moving pieces that shows sign of another plan if MDA will turn out another BUST.

    • richard

      I cannot blame you guys for airing that MDA be fired. But he is our coach. And i think this team will do well this coming season running his offense. I believe he will be flexible with this offense, he has shown that last season, and I think he will continue to have that flexibility with this roster. With Gasol as our center, the offense will flow better in the half court sets. I think they will run only when the opportunity presents itself.

  • Pat Oslon

    Maybe Rambis can put some defensive heart into the team. Other than that it’s gonna be a long up & down season.

    • nlruizjr

      Rambis needs to hire Michael Cooper as his assistant, period !!!!!

      • Eddie Lazaro

        Any of them will Do!

  • Jokobe

    It seems like a lot of the players that are taking the absolute minimum have plans of their own. They want to have a great season to get that new contract in 2014 when LA will have a lot of money to spend. I guess that is the pitch the front office is using to lure players, seems to be working.

    • Eddie Lazaro

      Yes, the pursue of the F/A for the future is in place, but we still need to play this year.. and this is Now. We have acquired a lot of good pieces that can be potent with this team. Who knows how good can they be. But the Defensive element is still a major concern. We have to go after a couple of big bodies to control the boards and with defensive mentality and a coach or two, capable of itegrating defensive structure into the system. Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper to name a few. Though we have younger fresh legs that can Run n Gun, and shoot the day lights out from downtown, it is as much as important to have a defensive stop.

  • Genelok

    It’s a good thing the Coward left so we can start playing as a team!

  • KcS

    The new roster is looking pretty decent so far, but Dumbtoni still needs to be fired asap.

  • ra

    Figured the whole thing out: Jim Buss is creating a team that will be the ‘best possible’ fit to D’Antoni’s system. Then, he will give it a year to see if things work out.

    If they do, D’Antoni has a better chance of staying (unless they want to get Melo, who won’t work w/D’Antoni).

    If it doesn’t work out, then Lakers FO can claim that they gave D’Antoni a ‘years’ chance to see if he would be the right coach (and, add to that, if Nash would work out well too).

    Chances are the Lakers don’t get too far (if at all) in the playoffs, so we’ll see how that fares for D’Antoni. It is clearly an experiment. This may not be good, considering how Kobe is doing and how he will work out next year.

    • Eddie Lazaro

      The addition of these new acquisitions gave us life. They are young, good ball handlers, and athletically fit and complements the pieces we already have. As a matter of fact, this addition, taking less to be with the Lakers is a great sign of Chemistry in the making. Barring another injury setback and Kobe coming back 90% early with a complete training camp, it will be Dangerous to put a ceiling on this group. If they gel well as I think they will, this is scary, having a lot of downtown shooters we never had in a while (w/Horry, Fox, Shaw, Harper, etc). Being young, they all can be slashers and penetrate, dunk, alley hoop. My main concern is Defense, we need a couple of big bodies. get some boards and have defensive natural instinct plus an acquisition of a coach to integrate Defense to the system. I know everyone is counting us out, but (Warriors last year) If that happens, this season will be AWESOME!

  • Eddie Lazaro

    We got a Triple Whammy corrections, it’s Quadruple last year, (1)Lost a coach who’s done nothing and replaced by one who can’t do any better. (2) Got so much injuries, emergency rooms are full 24/7. (3) We got the Clown in town with the Circus in his Tow. Too many interruptions. (4) Kobe got injured and the Clown got thrown out.. and out of town he goes… Yippeeeeee!
    NOW!, we got a lot of work to do, but the good thing is, we have additions, good younger, hungry additions (thanks Mitch)who “SACRIFICE” their monetary interest to join the LAKERS. If they show their commitments to winnings like they do in joining, then all we can do is wait and see… all we need are a couple more defensive bodies who can score and help the boards of both sides of the floor.
    I just hope Mike D’Antoni will have his young crew ready for rotations to give his aging starters enough rest before he gassed them out (like last year). Stamina and proper (9-10) player rotation plays an important role in competing in an 82game season and managing star players (30-35) minutes and energy level is just as important as their good health and conditions.

  • JOMI™

    Either Mitch will pull off another out-of-nowhere blockbuster deal that will make the team an instant contender, or it will be an absolute bust year and we should just wait for 2014. I just hope they don’t waste away Kobe’s last few seasons.

    • Eddie Lazaro

      Kobe coming (90%) comes training camp, we will need a couple of bigs to help on D, plus a coach to integrate Defense into the system. Dangerous!


    we need to play dumb next season to draft wiggins

    • Eddie Lazaro

      Not like West, Mitch is not a big fan of Draft, that is why we keep on trading our drafts.

  • richard

    There been a lot being said about MDA being the worst coach for the Lakers… but taking a clue from MWP about last season will open up our eyes as to why it didn’t pan out the way it was envisioned. Team chemistry never developed with D12 and the rest of LAL players. It was not about MDA system, or running and gunning… the whole thing was about D12′s inability to give his all for the betterment of the team, to play and battle with the team. I think Kobe toward the end of the season saw it, in that 4th game of the playoffs he came out of the locker room and went to Gasol to console him, massage Pau’s back, this was after D12 was ejected.

    For all the negative things Pau received from fans being “soft”, I cannot question his desire. He always comes to play for the team. One thing I cannot say about D!2 this season.

    • Eddie Lazaro

      It is not just about the System, all systems are great, if applied with (no training camp) readiness, proper (7-8players?) rotation, (old) player minute (40-45 for Kobe?) management, and Chemistry (which D12 destroyed). Not the right fit, no training camp, lots of injuries, Circus in Town.. too many excuses. All of these contributed one way or another to the result of last season, I got that. but with the roster (4 future hall of fame?) we have last year, there are a couple of important reasons being neglected.

      1. Having 7-8 player rotation means you are maxing your stars energy, leaving you vulnerable on critical and crucial times.

      2. By not managing your aging stars minutes and playing time properly, you are subjecting them to fatigue and injury, leaving them (exhausted) unproductive on (82 game series?)back to back games.

      3. Lack of chemistry and no defensive integration in the system. Circus in Town.

      4. Playing favorites and benching of players, removing players from natural positions that can help get a win,

      I have to take what I got but he needs tweaking, not just his system.

      • richard

        I agree with you on many points.. but the “no defense” thing… all offenses has its defensive side. You may not agree with the philosophy, but we did have a defensive structure last year… the reason why many fans says that MDA does not preach defense is fans tends to look at the score rather than per possession. naturally, teams with a fast pace style of offense will naturally have higher scores per 48 minute on the defensive side of the ball becuase of the increase in possession. I think a lot has been said about this in the media.

        I don’t know where you got the idea that MDA plays favoritism… he is a coach… every coach has a system and looks at players who can run the system and be effective in that system. PhilJax does this, all coaches do this…

        • Eddie Lazaro

          I know that every team has one way or another have a defense applied. It is not just because of the coach preaching applied, but also players with defensive natural instincts, a players character. If you look back at his teams, more than likely, you’ll find them the highest scoring team every year, and yet year in and year out, he always fails to make it to the top, he struggles to get over the hump. Having a high octane, fast pace team scores a lot more points and though it looks good on papers, it is it’s own weakness as well. Not being able to apply the same intensity defensively. You have to keep a fresh team from the start, all the way to the end. Making it difficult to maintain a high level of stamina and accomplish with 7-8 player rotation, playing 82game grinds, not considering travels, playoffs or back to back games.
          With the aging core like last year, taking player away from comfortable playing position, or benching. That is disrupting chemistry integration, taking away group efficiency and that’s a formula opening for a possible disaster. Also, by not tracking (aging) players minutes of play is subjecting yourself with injuries in the making, or depleting their energy all together, making so vulnerable on critical times and crucial games. Like what I have said, I am not faulting the system,
          but if he will just apply a little common sense into the mix and tweak his ways. meet with (same goal anyway?) others in the middle, he may come out on the same cloth with Pop, Sloan and the others.. and that will help him get Over the Hump!

          • richard

            I honestly agree with you on the rotation… I think that is what MDA has to improve on… a 9 man rotation team will do wonders come playoff time… more rested legs…if my guts is right, I think something is in the works… it’s all silent in lalalalala land… and it usually means something big is going to happen.

  • quickster007

    I don’t want this team to do well. So they can fire Mike at the end of the season. The Lakers have to suck to get Mike fired.

    • Eddie Lazaro

      You are talking about wasting the whole season worth of a couple hundred million dollars, that will not justify the firing of a coach, let alone solve the other integral issues that’s not written on the boards.

  • Eddie Lazaro

    Anyone got an update on the pursue of Kurt Rambis? Though it will be nice.

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