I think its very interesting how _down_ on the Lakers some fans are. Let's get real for a moment. Lakers have a pretty good squad given the new rules, limits to who wants to come here with Kobe and not much else in the pipeline. Not a championship squad, but a good squad and one which will be competitive.
Is it just me or does Clarkson look like he could be another Ron Harper with his cutting to the hoop and intensity (chip on his shoulder). Ron Harper post injury b/c Ron Harper in CLE was not the Harper we saw in LA (Clips or Lakers). Defense takes both a coach and a group of players who work together. Last year's squad was all about positioning for FA. This year we have some of that but I think less so. Swaggy signed a 4 year deal. Randle and Clarkson are young talent and have upside--not corrupted by the NBA and CBA--yet.
Lakers are not going to finish higher than 9th or 10th but do have a pick in 2015 and cap room and by this time next year, we will have developed the rooks and know what type of player Kobe is post injury (with one year left on his deal). I think HOU is in a much worse situation than us b/c their roster is very thin after starters and they have guys who are truly in the make-or-break part of their careers. DAL is hanging on. Lakers are going to surprise everyone this year and develop a 'team'
Remember, LA with Kobe, Shaq, Fish, et al. circa 1996...it did not come together right away and even in championship years there were moments where you wondered if we had a 'team' or just a bunch of high priced 'stars.' Its easy to look back at a year and be too high or too low on it based upon 20-20 hindsight. Everyone says "I picked them to win" or "I knew they were going to suck" when the chips are cashed. I think this team is very under-rated in large part due to the fact that people don't know how good Randle is going to be---he looks like Deng/Barkley hybrid in the making. If in 2018 you were to look back at this roster and say we have:
Boozer (Revitalized): PF
Randle (ROY?): SF
Hill (Finally comes into his own as a stretch 5): C
Henry (Diamond in the Rough?)
Nash (Vet Leadership and Poise)
Sacre (Better than Mark Landsberger)
I know--it does not look as good on paper as Fish, Kobe, Fox, Horry, Shaq, Harper, Shaw et al. or Buck, B-Scott, Worthy, AC, Kareem, Thompson, et al.
But--it does look better than the 2005 squad and perhaps as interesting as the NVE, Jones, Ceballos, AC, Vlade, Elden Campbell squad.
Im looking forward to the season and 2015, 2016 and putting this team back together after Kobe decides what he plans to do at the end of his contract. Here's to Kobe having a little left in the tank.
Make each day a masterpiece.