How Will LA Lakers Management Bolster Kobe Bryant’s Supporting Cast?

ATLANTA — The conservative expectations for this Los Angeles Lakers team are altogether different from last season. In 2012-13, Kobe Bryant’s fully functioning foot and Dwight Howard’s upside raised the Lakers roof for the entire sports world.

Not that there still isn't pressure, which can lead to panic. When the Lakers lose, the massive fanbase isn’t inclined to be patient—even though that was probably Jerry Buss’ greatest skill, to wait and wait and wait until just the perfect time to make the big, bold move and change the franchise’s fortunes.

For this final generation of Bryant’s Lakers, there may or may not be a true all-in moment for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak before No. 24's contract expires in 2016.

Bryant certainly hopes so, which is why he slipped Saturday night in Charlotte and cited his ongoing desire to play in June and the need for improvements. He said, “whether it’s with the guys we have in the locker room or whatever management wants to do.”

Maybe Bryant knows something’s percolating; he has been informed in the past when the Lakers are cooking a trade. He tried quickly to backpedal on the comment by adding, “I have no idea about that. It’s not my job to focus on that.”

It is obvious to Bryant that the Lakers lack size and defense. He asked for more length and speed after last season and got some of that stuff. However, the NBA’s eighth-worst team in rebounding percentage, the Atlanta Hawks, just took it to the Lakers on the boards in the second half Monday night.

Shocking? No. The Lakers are fifth worst in rebounding percentage coming in, according to That’s why they keep turning back to Jordan Hill for interior energy, even though Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni prefers a stretch 4 and isn’t sold Hill can sustain his gusto as a ...

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