EL SEGUNDO-New faces, old guard. High expectations, patient results. This is what has come to define the Los Angeles Lakers as the 2014-15 NBA season is officially on the books. The Los Angeles Lakers held their Media Day at their usual confines of their practice facility in El Segundo, California, where hordes of media members showed up to get their piece of audio, pictures and video of the team’s members.
Well, for sure, there are newcomers to get used to seeing and getting to know in Lakerland. The revamped and new-look Lakers include the presence of a former “Showtime” member Byron Scott, now taking the helm as head coach of the Purple and Gold. After several years of lackluster basketball on the court, complete with injuries and departures, Scott is a welcomed force for a franchise trying to get its swag back. That starts with a healthy Black Mamba aka Kobe Bryant.
It almost felt like the first day of Christmas with the way the media members surrounded Kobe and seemed to follow his every step as he walked around from one interview station to another to let Laker Nation know he’s okay and ready to go for the season. Kobe is the biggest question mark for the Lakers this season. He is also the face of the team. The question around Kobe is can he still deliver his usual 25 points a game, drop in the occasional Black Mamba ‘I can’t believe he just did that” unbelievable shot and crack down on opponents defensively the way he’s been known to do?
The bet here is yes to the above questions. Even though he just played six games last season, Kobe is Kobe. He’s not going anywhere. There’s something about this guy that defies logic, which of course, makes him an all-time great. If there is any player who can turn around a team and carry them on his back-it’s Kobe. Even with the loss of Pau Gasol, Kobe and his new cast members will be more than just competitive. The hunch here is that the Lakers will raise more than a few eyebrows and surprise people this season.
Never underestimate the power of a superstar and undervalue the will of a leader. Kobe, with Scott and new additions of rookie Julius Randle, veteran power forward Carlos Boozer and a revitalized Steve Nash, are going to make some noise this season. I know, I know, the Lakers haven’t put on much of a show the last couple of seasons, but using actor Wesley Snipes’ all-time line of “Always bet on black” that he made in the 1992 air thriller, “Passenger 57,” my thoughts is to always bet on the Black Mamba.
The Lakers may not be what they used to be but that is why they hired Scott: to take them back to the championship heights the team has enjoyed in the past. That may take a while, but at least with young legs in Randle, an intriguing Jeremy Lin, a rugged Jordan Hill and a core group of wiley veterans in Boozer, Nash and Kobe, the Lakers might see the light at the end of the tunnel a lot sooner than later.