Despite Big Changes, L.A. Lakers’ End Result Will Be Same This Season

Despite a new coach, an infusion of experienced (yet flawed) veterans and the return of a healthy Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, this Los Angeles Lakers season won’t be much better than the last one. In fact, it may be worse. 

The new coach is Byron Scott, a retread with long-time ties to the organization. He hasn’t had much success on the bench in nearly a decade. The notable additions are Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle (a rookie), Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington. None of them are known for their defensive ability.

Bryant, the savior, is 36 years old and physically unreliable, coming off two major surgeries on his lower body. It’s impossible for him to rekindle the skill he had 10 or even five years ago, and doubtful he’s ever able to replicate the high-usage production he displayed during the 2012-13 season. 

Nash isn't any younger (40 years old) and has only appeared in 65 games over the past two seasons.

Things aren’t rosy in Los Angeles, and the level of competition in the Western Conference makes it hard to envision anything beyond a trip to the lottery. Now that expectations are on the table, let’s look at some tactical changes we might see from the Lakers this season. 

Under Mike D’Antoni last year, the Lakers were one of the fastest teams in the league, a mess of three-pointers, rim runs and tattered defensive effort. They finished second only to the Philadelphia 76ers in pace, averaging 100.98 possessions per 48 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with playing fast and unleashing an up-tempo offense, but half of Los Angeles’ possessions last season appeared to lack structure. 

This wasn’t the “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns D'Antoni and Nash were once associated with years ago. The personnel might have needed a more traditional approach. Only seven teams launched more threes per...

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