Lakers will be looking to bounce back from a bitterly disappointing season last year…
Find NFL International Series tickets
Lakers not worried about Kobe Bryant: Veteran ready to make long awaited return to action this season.
Steve Nash looks good in pre-season: Point guard has suffered no injury setbacks.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is optimistic about Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash this season, and outlined his expectations for the new season.
The veteran duo missed significant playing time last season due to injury, and despite their advanced years, they will be expected to play key roles for the franchise in the coming year.
While Bryant in particular will need to lead the side, Nash will hope to put his nerve issues behind him and enjoy one last season in the league before retiring. Having come under heavy criticism, the point guard will be desperate to not only please the Lakers fans, but also prove to himself that he can give it one final push.
Nevertheless, Kupchak is looking well beyond merely getting them onto the court and believes that the franchise can target a championship.
“Our expectations are to win a championship,” Kupchak said. “The expectations outside of this room might not be the same.
“I think everybody is healthy right now. I’ve watched Kobe throughout the summer. I’ve gone to watch him work out down in Orange County and he’s been up here several times and he looks really good. He said he feels great. No ill effects on either injury. Steve Nash said he feels the best he’s felt in a long time. He’s been working out and playing every day here in the facility.”
Having finished with a 27-55 record last season, there will be few that would support Kupchak’s bold statement, particularly with the roster still looking particularly thin as the organisation potentially looks ahead to free agency to strengthen significantly.
Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer were brought in over the summer while Julius Randle was added to the roster through the Draft. However, it remains to be seen what kind of difference they can make with Bryant and Nash leading the charge for the most part.
Ultimately, their hope will rest on their ability to keep their core healthy, and if they are capable of doing that, then there is no reason why the Lakers will not be involved in the playoffs conversation at the very least.