All of a sudden, the Lakers have a promising young core to build around for the future. They’re getting Julius Randle back from a leg injury that ruined his entire rookie season, and they drafted a savvy young point guard in D’Angelo Russell who should evolve into their show-runner of the future. They also added instant offense off the bench when they acquired reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams.
And we haven’t even mentioned rookie sensation Jordan Clarkson, who was one of the breakout stars of his freshman class despite being an afterthought as a late second-round pick. If everything goes as planned, the Lakers could be back in the Western Conference playoff hunt in just a few short seasons. The only problem is that this could very well be Kobe Bryant‘s last hurrah, and the roster as currently assembled is already feeling some very real pressure to win now. That’s an expectation that Clarkson echoed in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio Wednesday:
Every year is championship or bust for Kobe Bryant, regardless of whether that falls within the realm of possibility. The problem is that the Lakers simply aren’t equipped for that just yet, for a number of reasons. Russell and Randle (for all practical purposes) are both rookies who are going to experience some inevitable growing pains.
Plus, there is a logjam in the Lakers backcourt that already includes Bryant, Russell, Williams and Nick Young, a scenario that could result in Clarkson himself seeing his growth stunted if he has to take a backseat to a myopically-driven Kobe trying to will himself to one last title before the curtain comes down on his career.
When it comes to Kobe, at least everybody knows exactly where they stand.
(via SiriusXM NBA Radio)