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The Los Angeles Lakers managed to add a few big names over the offseason, but there's no reason to think they'll be a playoff team during the 2014-15 season.
Not even with Kobe Bryant back on the floor.
While the Mamba's return will provide the Lake Show with a big offensive boost, let's not forget that he's a well-tread 36-year-old shooting guard (he will be at the start of the season) coming off multiple major injuries. Expecting him to look just like he did two or three years ago is foolish, and you'll only be setting yourself up for disappointment if that's your route of choice.
Plus, offense isn't the worry here. That would be defense.
Even if Byron Scott holds his players accountable for their work on the less glamorous end of the court, the pieces just aren't there. Carlos Boozer is one of the bigger defensive liabilities in the Association, and you can't pick a defensive standout between Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, Jordan Clarkson, Kobe, Nick Young, Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre and Ed Davis.
Hey, that's pretty much the entire roster!
The Lakers should be moderately better than last season, when they won 27 games and finished in the second-worst spot in the Western Conference. But only moderately.
Here's Bleacher Report's Dan Favale:
For the Lakers to be better than expected—not even a playoff team; just better than expected—they need to be elite in one area of the game, lest the ultra-competitive Western Conference swallow them whole. Problem is, the Lakers aren't built to defend, Scott isn't an a brilliant offensive mind and their most valuable scorer, Bryant, has appeared in six games since April 2013.
Those thinking the Lakers will be marginally better than last year are on the right track, because that's what they are: slightly more talented, walking a slippery slope, one injury away from another season-long fiasco, one Kobe Bryant renaissance shy of exceeding minimal expectations.
After going more than three decades between single-digit picks in the NBA draft, the Lakers are primed to make one in back-to-back seasons.