For the past two Los Angeles Lakers’ seasons, we had a clear sense of direction on where the team was heading (via tank): lottery city. This upcoming season that destination seems just as unlikely as a trip to the playoffs. So where will the Lakers end up, and how will the season turn out? No one knows, but it is still fun to speculate and make wild guesses. Here are the best/worst case scenarios for the Lakers in 2015-16.
Best case scenario #1: This has the slimmest chance of happening, but the Lakers somehow miraculously makes the playoffs as the eight seed. As you may know, the West is a tough and scary place to compete in day in and day out; the Lakers will probably need around 50 wins to get there. Who will they get those wins against? Our own Anthony Irwin recently predicted that by flipping a coin 82 times! He got them winning 52 games, and I would be more than happy with that. The Lakers will require everyone to be healthy and be playing exceedingly well every game. Although that may be unlikely, the Lakers got the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and selected D’Angelo Russell, and no one thought that was going to happen. They might get swept in the first round, but I know some would die to see that happen.
Best case scenario #2: This is the most exciting case, regardless of the record. D’Angelo Russell wins Rookie of the Year Award, Julius Randle plays out of his mind and become close to a double-double machine , and Jordan Clarkson continues to develop into a great player, and maybe even notch a 35-40 point game once or twice. If the young core of the Lakers plays above expectations, then it’ll be fun watching them compete. Having good veterans on the team like Kobe Bryant, Brandon Bass and Roy Hibbert will be beneficial to the Lakers’ young core tremendously, it is up for them to be receptive to criticism while also being assertive when the time is right. The future of the Lakers has looked a little sunnier these past few months, and having a solid young core to build around for years to come would hopefully be attractive to big name free agents like Kevin Durant.
Worst case scenario number one: This will be a nightmare no one wants to relive again; Kobe Bryant suffers another season-ending injury. If there were any questions whether if Kobe will return after next season or not, they will be put to rest if he suffers another serious injury. Kobe recently celebrated his 37th birthday and at his age with a history of major injuries, especially in the past few seasons, another one will be devastating and depressing. No one wants to see Kobe retire broken and injured, especially the Lakers, who must be smarter than last year in how they will use him and the amount of minutes they play him.
Worst case scenario number two: The Lakers are worse than last year and still give up their draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, which will downright horrible. Last year’s draft pick was top 5 protected, this year is even more difficult with the Lakers having to get at least the 3rd worst record to have a realistic shot at another miracle to keep their pick, again. If they had the same roster coming into this season as last year, tank enthusiasts would be optimistic, but this year’s team is slightly better. All it takes is a few more wins here and there to lose out on the lottery. If somehow the Lakers suffered another season like the previous two, the odds of them winning the lottery again is still very slim.
Some really unrealistic scenarios:
-The Lakers keep their lottery pick and will select first in the upcoming draft.
-The Lakers win the NBA title.
-Kobe is selected to All-NBA first team, and decides to sign a one year extension.
-Byron Scott wins Coach of the Year.