The Lakers had their annual Media Saturday (September 28), and with the 2013-2014 approaching, many of the returning players – as well as the new additions – seem very optimistic about the new season.
Team defense was one of the main emphasis for what will contribute to the Lakers success this NBA season. Last season, the Lakers had two very good individual defenders, but this season will take the effort of the entire team defensively to fill the gaps, and with the addition of younger guards some of those gaps will be filled – notably transition defense – which drove the team into the ground during games last season. The defensive success is predicated on team chemistry. Good chemistry will put the Lakers’ defensive, and offensive in unison.
The Lakers were absolutely swamped with injuries last season, and worse yet, the Lakers’ star, Kobe Bryant, went down late in the season with a torn Achilles tendon. During the season, the Lakers just could not stay consistently healthy as a team, and that substantially hurt their chemistry.
Steve Nash, Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol, and Bryant were asked during 710 ESPN Los Angeles’s Media Day coverage about their progress from last season’s injuries and how they currently felt physically.
Hill, who suffered a hip injury last season and made an integral appearance in the playoffs noted that he “is better, not 100%,” can “move well” and he is not inhibited by the injury.
Nash broke his leg very early in the season, and felt overall that the season was disappointing. He was asked if he was 100% healthy during the 2012-13 season, and he said he was “fairly healthy,” subsequently the injuries and disappointing season left him with a chip on his shoulder, and he has done much physically preparation to be ready for the new season.
Gasol, who endured quite a bit physically – and seemingly mentally – last season, received a procedure over the summer to correct the discomfort in his knees, and he has confirmed that it has made a “big difference”. I believe we will see a very different Pau this season.
Kobe who suffered a torn Achilles and has no set time for his return, but his rehab is going exceptionally well. He wrote about his injury via Facebook, and said that that injury was his “lowest point”. Fans are hoping he will return opening night on October 29 when the Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers, but his return is conditional. If the team can stay healthy, they could very well make good run at the playoffs.