Top 10 Reasons Lakers Will Surprise in 2013-2014.
Lakers upset the Clippers in their season opener 116-103. Could this be a hint of things to come?
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Lakers will be better in 2013-2014 than everyone thinks and here's why.
#1 Low Expectations:
All the Lakers have to do this season to succeed is make the playoffs. They were ranked #20th in the ESPN pre-season power rankings. They had teams like the Toronoto Raptors and Detroit Pistons ahead of them. They may have lost Dwight Howard, but they still have Kobe and they'll still find a way to win some games.
#2 Kobe Bryant's Return:
Everyone knows he's a winner, so what makes you think he's going to allow the Lakers to suck this season. He's coming back off his Achilles tare hungry to prove he still belongs in the names of the leagues elite. No, he can't single-handedly will them to a championship or even a top team in the West, but he can single-handedly will Los Angeles over teams like Portland and Dallas. Two teams ranked far ahead of LA.
#3 Dwight Howard is Gone:
Yes, he might statistically be the best center in the league, but he also has a way of ruining every team he's on. He is a cancer to his team. He in incapable of playing on a winner. Losing Dwight will be surprisingly good for LA. He may be the better center in fantasy basketball, but this is the NBA and he always manages to lose.
#4 Bench Play:
The Laker bench will surprise people this season. They shocked the hell out of the Clippers opening night and will continue to do so. This doesn't mean Xavier Henry's going to go for 22 points every night, but guys like Farmar, Meeks, and Hill will continue to contribute.
#5 Style of Play:
With Dwight gone and not clogging up the middle the Lakers can run the style of offense D'Antoni is comfortable with and guys like Pau Gasol and Steve Nash know inside and out. Look for the Lakers to put up some points this year. They will be running a lot more.
#6 Metta World Peace is Gone:
Yes, Metta is a good defender and a solid rebounder for his position, but he truly doesn't fit into D'Antoni's offense. His absence will allow the Lakers to get up and down the court and put up points.
#7 Improved Defense:
The Lakers were known for horrible transition defense last season. Well, so far this year they destroyed the Clippers on the boards and with the blocks. Yes, the Clippers are definitely the premiere transition up-tempo team in the West. If the Lakers defense can holdup against them in the open court. It looks good.
Look for LA to shoot more 3-pointers than they have in the past. Their new offensive flow will lend itself to this. Plus, they've got the personnel to pull it off with veteran deep-ball specialists like Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, and Xavier Henry.
With Dwight Howard gone the Lakers lose the biggest distraction in the history of the league. No more stories about Howard's inability to put on a condom and father a never ending stream of children from different women. No more stories about how he's thinking about leaving because he's unhappy. Now, the Lakers can just focus on playing ball.
#10 Lowered Expectations:
No, I didn't make a mistake. I'm putting in on the list twice because it is everything. Kobe Bryant's been written off as the #25th best player in the NBA. The Lakers are supposed to only be the #20th best in the NBA. ESPN called them "not watchable" and "not relevant."
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Lakers