No Kobe, No Party: Where do the LA Lakers go from here?
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The Los Angeles Lakers are in a spot of bother: Iconic shooting guard Kobe Bryant, who played for the Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year career, hung up his cleats at the end of the season and they now lack a genuine world class talent on their roster. Los Angeles have struggled to inspire confidence in recent years and will now need some of their younger starlets to step up and raise their game as they attempt to cope without Bryant.
Kobe has been the face of Los Angeles since he was drafted back in 1996 and it will take a few years for the franchise to fully come to terms with his departure. Right now, undrafted free agent Zach Auguste is attempting to impress the big bosses at the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League and many believe that he could be the next big thing at LA. While he obviously isn’t in the same league as Bryant, he could have plenty to offer.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) July 14, 2016
At the time of writing, the LA Lakers are 80/1 in Bet365’s basketball betting markets to win the NBA Championship title next season and right now, they are a long way off being able to compete at the top level. Auguste has shown plenty of talent, tenacity and hunger to succeed in the NBA but unfortunately, his place in the Lakers’ parent team is still not secure. He has impressed scouts this summer but he cannot afford to take anything for granted…
Jordan Clarkson is another youngster who could shine in Bryant’s absence. The 24-year-old played 79 matches for the Lakers last season, finishing with impressive statistics for 3-point success rate and defensive rebounds. Clarkson, who signed a new deal to stay at Los Angeles for the next four years, isn’t quite at Bryant’s level but the 2015 NBA All-Rookie First Team star is certainly improving and he is one to watch for the future. If nothing else, he could be the man to lead Los Angeles in the short term as Auguste matures and learns his trade in the NBA.
The Lakers should take a chance on Auguste – just as they took a chance on Kobe Bryant when drafting him back in 1996. Clarkson is capable of blossoming into a top player for Los Angeles but he needs support as he can’t do it on his own. And while the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle are competent basketball players, they are never going to set the world on fire. LA need a play maker and they’re desperate – so surely it’s worth taking a gamble on Auguste?