‘Swagtime’ Lakers: terribly entertaining
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
As part of USA TODAY Sports’ NBA season preview coverage, Adi Joseph and I recently finished ranking all 30 teams by “watchability.” The Los Angeles Lakers came in at No. 24, the reasoning being that Kobe Bryant’s return date is still unknown, and after losing Dwight Howard, they simply weren’t going to be very good. Not good enough to merit 29 nationally televised games, anyway.
After two preseason games, it’s evident that we made a big mistake.
To be clear, the Lakers aren’t going to win more than 35 games or so, and will probably miss the playoffs, unless Kobe somehow plays on opening night and hasn’t lost a step. But Lakers fans are going to have a lot more fun watching this team than they did last year’s.
The main reason: Nick Young.
The Lakers signed “Swaggy P” to a two-year minimum contract over the summer, hoping he could provide some scoring help for a roster that struggled in a big way to put points on the board when Kobe went down. But he’s going to give them so much more than that.
With Young as the Lakers’ No. 1 option, a new era is born for the purple and gold. Kareem, Magic and James Worthy were the “Showtime” Lakers. The Bryant-led teams that won five championships under Phil Jackson were the “Lake Show.” Now, Young is ushering in “Swagtime.” And it may be the most glorious period yet in Lakers history.