The start of basketball season is right around the corner, and Los Angeles has its fair share of teams to watch. With two NBA and division I collegiate teams each, basketball fans will have nonstop games to keep up with. This column is your one stop shop to all the updates concerning LA basketball. First up: NBA preseason predictions.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a team and franchise known around the world. They have the most franchise wins in NBA history and 16 championship titles, but those stats are not due to recent success. During the 2014-2015 season, the Lakers went 21-61, finishing 14th in the Western Conference, just above the Minnesota Timberwolves, as well as finishing last in the Pacific Division. This was the Lakers first 60-loss season in franchise history.
Preseason standings have the Lakers currently at 12th with a 3-5 record, tied with the Houston Rockets. While the team may not have gotten the free agents they were hoping for, this season may serve as a turning point in the teams potential. The promising young players D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, combined with a healthy Kobe Bryant and company, may prove to be a solid foundation. Bryant’s retirement rumors aside, the veterans experience with the promising talent of the newcomers could be the start of something special.
The Lakers’ open their season Wednesday, Oct 28, at the Staples Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Clippers are by far the most promising of the LA teams this year. They finished last season 56-26, second in the Pacific Division and third in the Western conference, before losing a tough playoff series to the Rockets in the semi-finals. What this team brings to the table is depth, particularly at the PF and SF positions, mixed with a strong core. Josh Smith, Luc Richard and Chuck Hayes back up starting power forward and Clippers star, Blake Griffin. Paul Pierce, projected the starting small forward for the Clippers, has Wesley Johnson, Lance Stevenson and Branden Dawson behind him. Newcomers Pierce and Stephenson are expected to add solid numbers and raise the bar of overall talent the team possesses. Chris Paul, arguably one of the best PG’s in the league is back to lead the team after averaging 19 points and 10 assists per game last season.
Bleacher Report’s Alec Nathan predicts the Clippers finish the 2015-2016 season with a 60-22 record, finishing third in the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. This will be an exciting team with major playoff potential.
The Clippers play on Oct. 28, opening their season in Sacramento against the Kings.