Despite an 0-4 start which included lopsided losses to the Suns and Warriors and a devastating injury to rookie Julius Randle, there are some positives that can be picked out from this young campaign. While Kobe Bryant looks like his old self, we all know that simply is not enough.
Here are three things the Lakers can build on from their first week of the regular season:
1. The emergence of Jordan Hill: After two lackluster performances to start the year, Hill has stepped his game up against two of the Western Conference’s top teams. He scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds in each game against the Clippers and Warriors. In addition, he also had four assists and three blocks against Golden State. Frontcourt mate Carlos Boozer has underwhelmed so far, and Hill has taken it upon himself to contribute in any way he can. His jumper has been falling, and that is a testament to the hard work he put in over the summer. He will not put up numbers like this every game, but one can only hope that he stays healthy and continues to be consistent.
2. Jeremy Lin’s confidence: Kobe Bryant has empowered Lin to run the offense but Lin has struggled early on, outside of a quality performance versus the Clippers. His shooting has been up and down, and has turned the ball over far too many times. Despite these downfalls, Lin is becoming more comfortable in his role as the starting point guard with every game played. That confidence showed versus the Clippers, when Lin waved Bryant off when he demanded the ball, which Bryant loved. For the Lakers to make any sort of noise this season, it has to start by playing with an aggressiveness and toughness that matches Kobe’s level, because it means they are willing to step up and shoulder the blame.
3. Minimal injuries early on: After a whirlwind of injuries during training camp that crescendoed with Randle falling to a leg injury in the season opener, the Lakers have come out relatively unscathed in the past three games. Here is to hoping this continues, and that the team can look forward to people coming back, as opposed to more people going down, which plagued the team the last two seasons.