Sports Out West

Kobe Bryant on Lakers’ title hopes: ‘I like our chances’

Photo by Bridget Samuels / Wikimedia Commons

While the rest of Laker-land seems to have a grim outlook about the team’s immediate future as significant questions still surround the franchise, superstar Kobe Bryant believes that they can be immediate title contenders once again just by making some simple adjustments. 

“I’d love to see us pick up next season where we left off this season prior to these injuries,” he told Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio Friday. “We were playing some good basketball. Everybody was in good rhythm, things were flowing and we knew what our niches were. I’d like to see us continue that and see what we can do with it.”

The injuries happened in droves and struck at inopportune times, culminating with Bryant’s ruptured Achilles’ tendon as the team was amid a five-game winning streak to end the regular season. At the time, they were preparing to enter their playoff run and playing their best basketball of the season. Dwight Howard, Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash each suffered injuries great enough to cause them to miss significant time. 

It’s safe to say that they could have made more noise had they been healthy, but the fact remains that they need more athleticism and speed in order to play better team defense. The Lakers had a dismal defensive rating in 2012-13, ranking 20th with 106.6 points per 100 opponents possessions. They’ll have to get better on that end of the floor before Bryant’s outlook has any merit, and The Black Mamba knows that it may take some different personnel to make it happen. 

“We’ll have to make some adjustments in terms of getting a little longer and having a couple guys on the floor that can really cover ground and cover ground quickly. But if we do those things, yeah, I like our chances.” 

So Kobe thinks like anyone who watched the Lakers struggle all of last year that they need to get younger and more athletic — there’s no shock there. 

Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels / Wikimedia Commons

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.