The 2016-17 season is still more than two months away. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about it.
The Lakers will be stepping into a new era – one without Kobe Bryant – come late October. It will be a team with a new coach and a bevy of young players looking to prove themselves at the NBA level.
We are getting closer to that time as the NBA finally released the 2016-17 schedule, taking us one step closer to the start of the season.
The Lakers will open play against the Houston Rockets on October 26th, the second day of the new year. It will be a reunion of the franchise against former coach Mike D’Antoni who was hired to lead the Rockets this summer.
For Lakers fans, it will also bring a bitter taste about opening night two years ago. The Rockets were the opponent then when rookie Julius Randle broke his leg, causing him to miss his first year in the league.
Nevertheless, this is a new-look Lakers team matching up against a new-look Rockets team likely on the fringe of reaching the playoffs or just missing out next season.
As usual, the Lakers will be featured in the NBA’s annual Christmas showcase. This will be the franchise’s 43rd appearance on December 25th with an even .500 record in its history.
Like last year, the Lakers will be matched up against their inner-city rival. CBS Sports’ Matt Moore broke news of the Lakers facing the Clippers Christmas Day.
Bulls-Spurs and Clippers-Lakers on Christmas.
Dwyane Wade is never going to spend Christmas at home.
— Matt Moore CBS (@MattMooreCBS) August 11, 2016
Luke Walton and Co. will get a chance to avenge last year’s loss to the Clippers in their first Christmas Day game in the post-Kobe Bryant era. The Lakers have lost the last 11 games against the Clippers, being blown out in most of the contests.
Timofey Mozgov will likely have a Nightmare Before Christmas leading up to the game, facing up against the Clippers’ executive producer Blake Griffin, who famously put him on a poster years ago.
Overall, the Lakers will have 14 national TV games in their first season without Kobe.
The Lakers’ full 2016-17 schedule can be found here.