The Los Angeles Lakers keep losing in their preseason preparation to the 2015-2016 NBA Season, and while results don’t matter, there are worrying signs regarding the team’s defense, which has been an issue for quite some time. Kobe Bryant is actually looking pretty good, not to mention holding himself back, but it all came down to a 105-97 loss against the Toronto Raptors.
Bryant scored 16 points on 5-of-11 from the field and said about himself that he’s feeling better and better, like he’s getting into a rhythm. He started with Jordan Clarkson (11 points, 6 assists) and Nick Young (7 points) in the lineup, while D’Angelo Russell is out with minor injury he picked up in the loss to Utah a day earlier.
The two most impressive players for the Lakers in preseason so far, besides a solid looking Bryant, have been Julius Randle, who is showing skills of doing more than just creating points in the paint, finishing with 17 on this occasion, and Lou Williams, providing offense and energy off the bench, scoring 19 points on this occasion. The Lakers have potential to do pretty well offensively this season.
Defense? Well, it’s interesting. Byron Scott takes pride in being a defensive specialist, although there have been very few signs of his specialty over the years. He preaches it, but I’m not sure he actually knows how to teach it. The Lakers haven’t looked good as a defensive team since Mike Brown got fired. With Roy Hibbert, hopefully motivated, there’s a chance of creating something that actually works on defense, but the perimeter right now looks very easy to push through.
Trying to tell too much from a preseason game isn’t smart, so everything is obviously taken with a grain of salt. Optimistic feelings tend to be crushed very early on for the Lakers in recent seasons once the preseason stops and the real games begin. Will it be the same this year? Hard to say, but if Bryant doesn’t go out of his way to show everyone he’s still the Alpha of this pack and Scott actually remembers how to coach and Hibbert regains his defensive rock abilities, maybe this won’t be a third year of tanking and overall disaster in a row.