Preseason NBA Power Rankings 16-30

6 of 17

Jan 21, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center

Omer Asik

(3) rebounds over Los Angeles Lakers guard

Ronnie Price

(9) during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans defeated the Lakers 96-80. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

26. L.A.Lakers
Projected Record: 29-53

The perennial powerhouse.  The land of LA love.  Hollywood’s Haven.  Never in my wildest childhood dreams could I imagine the LA Lakers would be a team struggling to recapture former glory.  And it is this disbelief which makes it so difficult for the team to right the ship.

The problem is Kobe Bryant.  Yes, you heard me.   The L.A. Lakers team is a team built around an overpriced and waning skills player.   The disbelief paralyzes this team into taking the steps necessary to change that dynamic.   The Titanic sank because nobody thought it could, and did not take steps to avoid dangerous waters.   So too are the Lakers running into rough seas, primarily because nobody believes they could.

Coming off a 21-61 season, it’s all I can do not to project them at the same record this year.  Perhaps the mirage of “this team can turn it around on a dime” is affecting me as well.    They still have a very good player in Kobe Bryant.   They drafted the top point guard in the draft, 6’5″ 195 pound D’Angelo Russell, and picked up solid bench help with Lou Williams and Brandon Bass.

But you can almost feel this team, desperate to turn it around instantly, made moves that a contender trying to round out their roster would do.   The team is bad, and if Kobe Bryant stays  out due to his shoulder injury, you will see just how incredibly bad they truly are.  Bryant is expected to come back in September.  I believe there will not be any rush  for him to do so, particularly if the team feels they have little chance of post-season.

Next: Magic