The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t been relevant for the past five seasons. That’s what a playoff drought will do to you. But signing LeBron James put them back on the map. And while they’re not contenders quite yet, Kobe Bryant believes their time will come. Not only that, but he believes their time will come really soon.
“They will figure it out,” Bryant said at the Lakers’ annual “All-Access” event at Staples Center on Monday (via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin). “They have talented pieces and (Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka) has put them in position with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out. So, enjoy the journey because we’ll be champions before you know it, and then we’ll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.”
That sure is quite the claim. However, the Lakers are riding a three-game winning streak and are just two games out of first place. They’re currently fifth out West, and only a game behind the Warriors. Part of it, of course, is King James still doing his thing. The other is head coach Luke Walton doing a fine job of developing the young talent his team has to offer.
“It’s a test of Bron’s patience and also doing what he needs to do to keep the team’s head above water,” Kobe continues. “So, it’s a balancing act. They were struggling, Bron got the ball, took control, decided to start playing point, doing everything, doing everything. … That’s not the recipe for winning championships by no means, but it is a recipe to keep your head above water.”
Up next, the Lakers host the Spurs on Wednesday night. Their last three wins have come at home, so we’ll see if they can keep that streak going as well. In the meantime, James is averaging 27.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game during his first season in LA. At nearly 34 years old, he’s still playing at the highest of levels. And obviously, the Lakers are better for it.
But is Kobe right? Will the Lakers be champions again in no time? They’ve had a number of impressive wins already this season. All they can do now is put their hands down and keep doing what they’re doing.