Despite having LeBron James on their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are still unable to end their playoff drought in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Lakers managed to establish an impressive performance in the first half of the season, but after suffering multiple injuries, they started to drop from the Western Conference standings and they are now officially removed from the playoff race.
In a recent appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (transcribed by Sporting News), Kobe Bryant talked about the Lakers’ struggle and his advice to LeBron James and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson after suffering a disappointing season. Bryant believes that before some of their key players, including James, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram, suffered injuries, the Lakers exceeded people’s expectations. Despite their inability to reach the Western Conference Playoffs 2019, Bryant is confident that James’ second year with the Lakers will be better.
“When they were rolling, I mean, they were playing very well, I think exceeding people’s expectations. But then they got hit with all these injuries. Kind of set ’em back, knocked them off-kilter a little bit. It’s hard to reboot that and so now they get caught in that rut. But next year should be better.”
It’s easy to understand why Kobe Bryant is very optimistic that LeBron James and the Lakers can bounce back in the 2019-20 NBA season. The Lakers have plenty of ways to get better in the summer of 2019. They have enough salary cap space to chase the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and DeMarcus Cousins in the 2019 NBA free agency. The Lakers also have a plethora of trade assets that they could use when they resume their trade negotiation with the New Orleans Pelicans involving Anthony Davis.
Ah, what could have been for the Knicks https://t.co/jwSBKKNNxx
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) March 21, 2019
As the man who is currently pulling the strings with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant advised Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson to be patient and choose wisely regarding the direction they are planning to take.
“You have opportunities, things, pieces that you can trade, assets of that sort, or you can stay with the young guys who are extremely talented and have great upside and let them develop. Either direction you go should be a good direction.”
As for his advice to LeBron James, Kobe Bryant urged the Lakers’ lone superstar to keep pushing and don’t give up on his team. Being unable to compete in the playoffs is something that James didn’t expect when he signed with the Lakers last summer. However, Bryant believes that suffering a disappointing season is one of the things that makes winning championships worth it.