2016 Los Angeles Lakers Predictions

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a precarious position now that Kobe Bryant has retired. They have been asked to be one of the better teams in the league now that they no longer have his salary on their books, and they do not have a complete team as of yet. They did not sign any major free agents in the offseason, and they sit in a western conference that is occupied by a Golden State team that has four potential hall of famers on its roster. This article explains what I believe the Lakers are capable of this season.

#1: Their Team Is Not Loaded With Talent

D’Angelo Russell is a singular talent who would be a much better second option of a better team, but he may become the best player on the team leading a few other nice players. The Lakers have lottery picks who may become great in the next few years, but they are not currently in position to run with the people they have and garner more than the eighth spot in the playoffs.

#2: Nick Young And D’Angelo Russell

The spat between Nick Young and his teammate over recorded conversations that were posted online has torn the locker room apart. The Lakers truly cannot move on unless they have traded one or both players, and their spat as friends may become such an issue that they may not play well at all. The controversy alone has created problems for both players, the team and the league. No one wants to see it drug out in public 82 times this season.

#3: The Lakers Are In A Stacked Western Conference

The Lakers are in a conference that makes it quite difficult for them to even achieve a playoff berth. They may well make it into the last spot in the playoffs, but they will lose in the first round regardless. Their team must continue to improve, and they may well spend 82 games making changes that are worth it. The team will be more competitive in two or three years when the western conference begins to slow down.

#4: Luke Walton

Luke Walton was hired as the coach of the Lakers before the NBA Final were complete, but he is making a comeback to a team with which he won two championships. He was the head assistant on the defending champion Warriors, and he is well-respected around the league. Everyone who knows anything about basketball expects Luke Walton to make drastic changes to the Lakers given his coaching philosophy. He plans to create a better environment for the players, and he will begin to see improvement in a year or two.

Everyone who loves the Lakers will see a better team for the 2016 season, but they will not see a team ready to compete for a championship. They are simply not in a position to win as many games as necessary to compete with a team like Golden State, but they will show enough improvement hearten even the most jaded fans.

Best Player in Chicago Bulls History

Despite a downward turn in recent seasons, the Chicago Bulls remain one of the proudest franchises in the history of the NBA due to an unprecedented level of success that may never be reproduced by another team. And it is this period that dominates the list of the best players to ever put on a Chicago Bulls uniform as far as I’m concerned, with a few more recent players sprinkled in as well. These are the five best players in the history of the Chicago Bulls.

5. Joakim Noah

Only one other player in team history personified the mentality of the city of Chicago better than Joakim Noah did. Noah, from the University of Florida, was a hard nosed rebounder who seemingly preferred to clean up the glass than score points, which he wasn’t bad at either. That attitude built him a reputation in the league of being a dirty player, as several on-court incidents with opposing players earned him the designation of being a player you would love to have on your team but hate to have playing against you.

While Noah never did win a championship in Chicago, he was one of the reasons that the Bulls were as competitive in the Eastern Conference as they were during his time there.

4. Derrick Rose

I’m not sure that there has ever been a more exciting Chicago Bulls player than Derrick Rose. Rose was a number one overall pick by the Bulls, joining them after playing a year for the John Calipari coached Memphis Tigers team that fell one game short of a perfect season in college basketball. Rose was an explosive point guard, more known for scoring than passing, but was effective nonetheless.

Of course, Rose’s career was hindered by a lengthy injury history that still plagues him to this day, something that has prevented him from being remembered as one of the NBA’s true greats.

3. Dennis Rodman

While Joakim Noah had a reputation for being a gritty player, Dennis Rodman took that reputation and amplified it tenfold. Rodman was another player who prioritized rebounding and defense first, and did it in an era of the NBA which I believe was the toughest by far, the 1990s. Rodman had a personality that matched his game, as he has since pulled stunts such as marrying himself in a wedding dress and befriending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

2. Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen will always be remembered as the Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman, but that doesn’t fully do him justice. Pippen was one of the best perimeter defenders in basketball history, and led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals after one of Michael Jordan’s retirements, proving that he would have been the best player on many teams in the league, just not his own.

1. Michael Jordan

I don’t think that much needs to be said here. Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six championships, and would have won more if he didn’t take a break from basketball to pick up baseball instead. He was the ideal combination of clutch scoring and lockdown defense and, until LeBron James came along, the undisputed greatest player in NBA history. He easily takes the top spot on the list of the greatest Chicago Bulls of all time.