Remembering Kobe Bryant Roundtable: Part 1

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(Image/Getty Images)

Here at Lakers Fanclub UK, we are mourning the loss of the larger than life, once in a generation talent, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe “Bean” Bryant. The loss of Kobe, his daughter Gianna and the 7 other souls that perished on Sunday 26th January 2020 has had a profound effect on the Lakers community and has every person who has heard about this tragedy hugging their loved ones a little bit tighter.

We have a group of die-hard Lakers fans who are understandably incredibly upset and, broken-hearted about the loss of Kobe. We love and respect every member of our Lakers community and felt it was our duty to allow some of the members of our team to express their grief to try and heal.

Rest in peace to Kobe and Gianna Bryant, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan.

 The nine victims of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have been pictured

Q: What emotions are you currently feeling now about the loss of Kobe?

Amandeep Rai: “I think it’s kind of setting in now that this isn’t a hoax that we see from TMZ. Suddenly a dark cloud has formed above my head where I can’t escape this feeling- I guess it’s grief that will drift off eventually but it’s still pretty raw at the moment.”

Cole Pollard: “Still raw. I’m constantly going between being numb and crying. I just keep going back to it not being fair in my head. The man Kobe Bryant gave us so so much. He did not deserve this.

On Sunday night, a couple of hours after the news broke, I was scrolling through twitter trying to take in what was happening. The basketball world falling to its knees. Then I saw it, a video of a helicopter tail spinning and crashing into the Calabasas hills. Oh, how I wish I never saw that video, it keeps replaying in my head. All I can think is the panic and chaos those poor souls went through before impact. I hope they can rest now. And yet I can’t let Kobe rest.

As I type this it’s 1:30 in the morning, I have work at 8 tomorrow. Yet I am sat in my living room no thought of going to bed. Watching the 81 he gave us. I tear up with every shot he makes. One, in particular, 1 minute 15 seconds left in the 3rd Kobe makes a steal as Toronto tries to advance the ball, he controls it and throws it down hard on the rim. That embodies Kobe, he made it look easy. But it wasn’t. It was his hunger and drive to be the greatest ever that made everything he did look so effortless. Yet you could tell it was so exhausting.”

Christopher Sherwood: “I can’t sugar coat it. I feel empty. Kobe was always an escape for me from the harsh reality of real life. No matter how tough the day, I knew I could stick on the Laker game and there was a fairly good chance he could cheer me up. Losing him, especially like this, is a harsh reminder of how short life is.”

Jonathan Kiernan: “I felt physically sick when I heard the terrible news about Kobe Bryant. He has been my idol for 20 years, I have grown up with him and have become an adult with him. I had always thought that Kobe would still be around long into my older years and he would be a Bill Russell esque figure in the NBA, dropping pearls of wisdom and making sure that every player he comes into contact with knows what has come before them.”

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Q: What is your fondest Kobe Bryant memory?

Amandeep: “My fondest Kobe memory was when his jerseys were retired, I don’t know why but I felt that scene gave us all closure and kind of somewhat closed his chapter and era in the Lakers, a fitting send-off.”

Cole: “The final game, he gave us everything man, emptied the tank. I remember it as I hadn’t fallen deep for basketball yet. I remember thinking to myself, tonight is gonna be something special, something real.

Up until that point, I would rarely stay up for games. But that night I went to bed early, I must have set about six alarms, and I got up and watched that magic. I remember the chills as he got hot. The pure elation as he came up, went around that screen and gave us, the Lakers, the NBA, the World, one last game-winner.”

Christopher: “It would have to be being in the building with my dad when he dropped 62 on Dirk and the Mavs in just three quarters. The energy inside Staples that night was simply incredible. It was almost as if every shot he took was certain to go in.

A close second is winning the 2010 finals and watching my best friend (a Celtics fan) slump out of my living room into the night at 5 am to embark on a 30-minute miserable walk home. Victory never tasted sweeter.” 

Jonathan: “My fondest memory of Kobe has to be winning his 5th ring against the Boston Celtics in 2010. Kobe did not shoot well that game but he helped anyway he could by grabbing numerous boards and playing tough defense.

Watching the final buzzer sound and Kobe mounting the scorer’s table will forever be etched into my memory as long as I live.”

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Q: What did Kobe Bryant mean to the greater NBA community?

Amandeep: “Kobe Bryant far surpassed the NBA community, surpassed borders/cultures and sports. He was and still is an icon. His sporting career speaks for itself, but his mentality and his attitude to being a parent is something everyone can learn from.”

Cole: “All you have to do is watch the first 32 seconds of every game and you have your answer. It moves me to see the teams and the fans, that Kobe relished in upsetting all these years, put all that aside and recognize that a Father, a Husband, a Son, a Brother, a Teammate, and an Icon perished tragically and suddenly on Sunday. Not to mention a young woman who was going to change the way the world looks at the WNBA.

This is more than Basketball, this is a sign that life is short. It comes and goes in a moment. It doesn’t matter what you have in any other aspect of life. If you have family, you have everything. Kobe had that. The world knows and appreciates that.”

Christopher: “He was a legend in every sense of the word. Larger than life. You only have to look around the association to see the impact Kobe had. Today’s players grew up on Kobe (as I did) and his imprint is on so much all around the league. It will be interesting to see what the league does to commemorate him moving forward.”

Jonathan: “From the sheer outpour of emotion in the NBA community it is incredibly clear to see how highly thought of he was not just in the NBA but worldwide.

Kobe gave a helping hand to those willing to learn. He demanded excellence from each player he spoke to or any person who wished to improve their focus, leadership or dedication to their craft.

The NBA has lost a titan of the game. I am firmly a believer that they should make Kobe the NBA logo. A Laker legend replacing a Laker legend (Jerry West, who drafted Kobe) as the logo. It would be poetic and a terrific and long-lasting recognition of a player who gave everything he had to the game of basketball.”

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Q: How should we all remember Kobe Bryant moving forward?

Amandeep: “A loving father, teacher, guardian, and student also. The greatest laker to put on a uniform and perhaps the most driven athlete/writer that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Cole: “Mamba Mentality, we all know it. Its a way of life, a roadmap of a champion. Kobe was the pure embodiment of a champion. Never would he hide from the greatest moments. Even as a young man he would try his best to rise to any occasion. We all know about the air balls. I remember Jerry West said “If somebody would have shot an airball on our team, and shot a second one. They ain’t gonna shoot the third one. He was fearless. I think that’s one of the things that spurred him to greatness, he wasn’t going to allow himself to fail.” And so as he grew as a player, as a man. he no longer had to try, he just did. It just happened. Suddenly a kid who came straight out of high school was a man. and that man was a stone-cold killer, with a glassy stare to boot. I urge anyone reading this to continue his legacy. Any decision you have to make. Ask yourself,
‘What Would Kobe Do?’.”

Christopher: “As an inspiration. Not just as a basketball player, but as a father and a human being. If you apply his work ethic to any task you need to in the future there’s a pretty good chance you will succeed.”

Jonathan: “An easy answer would be to say that he should be remembered as one of the greatest players of all time. A person who pushed the game to new heights and who didn’t waste a single ounce of talent he had.

That’s the easy and popular answer.

I prefer to remember Kobe as a family man, as a person who loved his family with his whole heart and who took greater pride in seeing his family happy than he ever did winning any game or award.”

 Q: If you could give Kobe a message right now, what would you say?

Amandeep: “Thank you, Kobe, learning about you and your mindset allowed me to prosper in my own life, I thank you for the years you gave in the purple and gold, and I thank you for becoming a role model in which I can focus on in my industry. You will be forever remembered, we will carry on your legacy. Rest in peace GOAT.”

Cole: “I spoke to him through my medium on Sunday night. If I could speak to him again, writing this 24 hours later. I would tell him “I’ll come to speak to you again soon” and I’d tell him again “Thank You, Love You, Cole.”

Christopher: “Thank you for all the memories and for bringing so much joy to my life. To say you will be missed will be an incredible understatement. Love you Mamba x”

Jonathan: “Thank you, Kobe, for giving me one of the greatest passions in my life. Your ability to push through adversity, injury and overwhelming odds has given so many people hope to push past the difficulties in their life and come out the other side wiser and better people.

You taught people to dream big but you have got to work harder than everyone else in the room for it. Just know that the Lakers community will never forget your name and when my time comes to visit the pearly gates, just know, I got next.”

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Are Howard And Davis The New Robinson And Duncan?

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A huge claim to say the least, but with the young superstar in Anthony Davis and the aging former MVP candidate, yet effective veteran, in Dwight Howard. Are they the next big man duo to set the NBA alight?

Let’s get this out of the way early. I am not comparing Dwight Howard at this moment in time to an in his prime David Robinson.

I am simply comparing Robinson at age 33 and Dwight Howard at age 33 (now 34 but for the start of the season, aged 33). Tim Duncan and David Robinson throughout their illustrious career accomplished more than most NBA players ever will and it would be unfair to compare careers to this point. For the sake of argument, we are comparing the production of Howard and Robinson at 33 and Anthony Davis and Duncan at 25.  Are we all in accord? Great.

The Los Angeles Lakers after suffering an opening night loss to their city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, have put together some impressive wins to open the season and have shown that they have the potential to make some noise in the playoff picture moving forward.

On the back of stellar play from superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the purple and gold have put teams to the sword at times and look to be the unstoppable pairing most NBA analysts believed they would be.

Their collective skill-sets have lent perfectly to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. LeBron being the elite play-maker and leader, and Anthony Davis being the elite defender and pick-and-roll monster.

While LeBron and Anthony Davis have rightfully garnered most of the plaudits, several significant role players have stood up and been counted. The likes of Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso, Danny Green, and to a lesser extent JaVale McGee, have all been important pieces to the Lakers’ early-season exploit.

However, one former superstar, who was thought to be on his way out of the league has been one of the key ingredients to the Lakers’ success. None other than the former “Dwightmare” himself, Dwight Howard. I think we as Lakers’ fans can now put to rest that difficult period in Lakers’ history and move on to the next chapter.

Howard has been providing valuable minutes for the purple and gold so far this season. His ability to set bone-crushing screens and slam down some perfectly timed lobs have been greatly appreciated by Lakers Nation and he seems to be doing everything he can as a teammate to get rid of the memory of the “Dwightmare”.

While Howard’s incredibly efficient offensive ability has been in full view and has been great, it is his work on the defensive end that has fans of the purple and gold raving.

Let’s start with his blocking exploits. To start the season, he was 5th in NBA in blocked shots, averaging 2.33. What made this statistic even more remarkable is that he was and still is doing this while coming off of the bench. Howard is currently splitting minutes with JaVale McGee, and with McGee as the starting center.

While Howard’s block numbers have gone down to 1.5, he is still providing a huge amount on the defensive end in turns of staying in-front of his man and his ability to stay in-front of guards to effect their shot. While the blocking stats are incredible, it is the overall contribution in help defense that has endeared him to Lakers Nation.

If he isn’t swatting shots at the rim, he is sliding over to help his teammates as a weakside defender. He has proven to be a nuisance to opposing players and long may it continue.

Alongside superstar Anthony Davis, Howard has formed one of the most formidable big men pairing in the league, which got me thinking about some of the best big men pairings in NBA history.

McHale and Parrish, Kareem and Worthy, Sampson and Olajuwon, some of the greatest frontcourt pairings in NBA history, but the first, and in my opinion best pairing, was David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Robinson is one of the best and in my opinion the most underappreciated centers in NBA history. His name is often forgotten among the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon as one of the true great centers of the post-Kareem era.

While Dwight Howard was considered the best big man in the league during his prime, he is far from his prime now, but that’s ok.

Comparing his numbers at aged 34 to that of Robinson’s, and the admiral has him beat in pretty much every category, however a few things need to be taken into account.

Howard is playing 12 fewer minutes per game then Robinson was, and is not the first, second, third and sometimes not even the fourth option when it comes to scoring the ball.

To start the season Howard was averaging similar numbers when it came to blocks, averaging 2.3, this has since gone down to 1.5 and so far he has been an ultra-efficient scorer.

Pete Zayas of Laker Film Room masterfully outlines Howard’s contribution on the defensive end.

Again, he is not a better center than Robinson but at the same age, they have potentially similar stat lines. Granted Howard has been poor the last number of years, while Robinson was the height of consistency throughout his storied career.

With Howard as a defensive-minded veteran like Robinson, you need someone who has similarities to Tim Duncan. Look no further than Anthony Davis.

Duncan is understandably considered the gold standard when it comes to power forwards. To me, he unquestionably the greatest power forward in NBA history.

The greatest compliment that can be bestowed upon Anthony Davis is being compared to this Spurs legend. Davis in a rapid period has gotten into the conversation as one of the greats at the power forward position. Yes, Davis has a ways to go yet to catch the “Big Fundamental”, but he is on the right track and has the potential to reach the mountain top.

With Davis’ abilities on both ends of the floor, it is hard not to see similarities to Duncan and Davis’ game. Both beasts on the offensive end, Duncan would beat you with his razor-sharp fundamentals and IQ.

Davis while also a savant on the floor can beat you with his array of post moves and if that doesn’t work Davis is going to use his superior physical build to beat you up in the post.

On the defensive end, both Davis and Duncan were/are juggernauts. Each man among the league leaders in blocked and contested shots. It was truly a marvel to watch Duncan on the defensive end of the floor and I can easily say the same about Davis right now.

So Davis and Howard, are they the next Robinson and Duncan at the same stages of their career? I’m going to say this. The potential is there.

If Dwight Howard can get more minutes and continue to be ultra-effective on the offensive end whilst still wreaking havoc on the defensive end then yes, Howard and AD have the chance to be a special pairing.

It is extremely early days and it would be blasphemous to put them in the same league in terms of achievements throughout Duncan and Robinson’s career. But with Howard and Robinson at 33 and Davis and Duncan at 26 years of age, there is a chance that the Lakers duo could have a similar output to Duncan and Robinson, if even only on the defensive end.

If Davis and Howard can keep this level of play up, stay healthy and learn to play together even better then the rest of the NBA better be on notice. With their defensive abilities, they can be special.

With Davis and LeBron James the main focal point (rightfully so), Howard can continue to grind on defense and maybe just maybe the Lakers can bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Staples Center.

3 Ways in Which Kyle Kuzma Can Improve Going into 2020

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The Los Angeles Lakers have started the season on fire and have maintaining the best record in the NBA, one of their key pieces has yet to fully ignite as of yet. With so much at stake going forward, how can Kyle Kuzma step it up going into 2020?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been a juggernaut to start the season, with a league’s best record and team chemistry at an all-time high, things are really looking up for the purple and gold. For fans of the Lakers, this moment in time feels so sweet.

With the memory of Kobe Bryant‘s torn Achilles still etched into the memory of Lakers fans, The Chris Paul trade being vetoed, Dwight Howard leaving for Houston, numerous lottery picks and missing the playoffs year after year. Finally, Lakersnation has a team that makes all of the heartaches of the past feel like a distant memory.

When talking about this team, much of the plaudits must be given to the likes of General Manager Rob Pelinka for assembling the team, Coach Frank Vogel for executing the gameplan on a nightly basis and keeping the team in the top 10 on both ends of the floor and to LeBron James and Anthony Davis who have been incredible so far this season.

With Davis and LeBron both considered MVP candidates, it is easy to see how the Lakers are off to such a fast start.

While the likes of AD and LeBron are playing incredible, one player that huge things were expected of is Kyle Kuzma.

While being the last remaining member of the Laker’s beloved young core, Kuzma was kept in hope that he would reach the next level of his development and become the 3rd defacto star for the purple and gold. As of right now, Kuzma has fallen far short of expectation.

A lot of the blame can be put on the ankle injury which he received whilst playing for Team USA, which in turn forced Kuz to miss training camp and pre-season. In essence, Kuzma has been playing catch up all season.

With the season far from over, there is still plenty of time for Kuzma to find a rich vein of form, if this happens, the Lakers could be an even scarier team then they have shown.

Here are 3 ways in which Kyle Kuzma can improve going forward this season:

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(Image/Logan Riely/NBAE)

Buy into the Kevin Love role

There is nobility in being the 3rd star on a championship-contending team. For every LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, you have a Chris Bosh, for every Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, you have Lamar Odom and for every LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, you have Kevin Love.

The role of the 3rd star is to sacrifice individually in order for the team to succeed as a unit.

Kevin Love was an absolute monster for the Minnesota Timberwolves. His ability to rebound, shoot from anywhere and be the number one option on the Timberwolves team made him a multiple time all-star and widely considered one of the best power forwards in the NBA.

However, upon Love’s arrival in Cleveland, he realized that his role was going to drastically change.

When you have transcendent talents such as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on your roster, you do everything in order to put them in the best position to win. Which meant forcing Love into a role he has never done throughout his basketball career. 

The Cavaliers asked Love to grab rebounds and spot up from the 3-point line. For a superstar, swallowing your pride and doing what is best for the team is a humbling experience.

Love did this for the Cavaliers and in return he won a ring.

While Kyle Kuzma isn’t the same caliber of star Kevin Love is, the message remains the same, grab rebounds, outlet the ball to LeBron or AD and wait on the wings for a spot-up 3-point shot.

If Kuzma can hit the 3-point shot at an above-average rate, he has the potential to be a 20ppg scorer. He has the confidence in his shot, he has the ability and if he buys into his role fully, he will be the 3rd star the Los Angeles Lakers need.

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Continue to work hard on defense

Needless to say, so far in Kyle Kuzma’s career, we can safely say that being an elite defender has not been one of his calling cards.

Kuzma since being drafted has been guilty of getting beat by his opposing player for an easy basket or a pull-up jumper right in his face. This has caused a lot of frustration not just for his coaches and fellow teammates but also for fans of the purple and gold.

The most frustrating aspect for all involved is knowing that Kuzma is a willing defender, who is willing to work hard but his technique on the defensive end left a lot to be desired.

Kuzma’s main problem on defense is his footwork. While some of the best defenders in the NBA slide their feet in order to stay in front of their man, Kuzma would bounce on the soles of his feet, this led to players easily reading Kuzma’s footwork and throwing in hesitations and head fakes in order to get Kuzma off balance allowing the opposing player to get easy buckets.

With the likes of Frank Vogel, Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins, and Phil Handy on staff, Kuzma has a wealth of knowledge in order to improve as a defender.

The effects of their tutelage have already been seen in Kuzma’s game. While he is still prone occasionally to bounce on the soles of his feet, he has also slowly but surely worked that out of his game and adopted the more conventional slide technique which will allow him to stay in front of his man.

Kuzma has the quickness to stay in front of his man, he has the hard-working mentality to want to get better and he is willing to put the effort in to be the best player he can be on both sides of the ball.

Continued development with the coaching staff could have Kuzma being a defensive stopper of sorts, rather than being a turnstile.

Los Angeles Lakers
(Image/Logan Riely/NBAE)

Become the 2nd Unit leader

Having been a mainstay in the Lakers starting line-up for much of his Laker’s career, it must have come as a surprise to Kyle Kuzma this off-season that he was being asked to come off the bench after being successful in the starting line-up alongside LeBron.

Adding an otherworldly talent in Anthony Davis will force you to make changes.

The Lakers so far have been spot on in moving Kuzma to the bench. With AD and LeBron playing incredibly together, it makes no sense to stick Kuzma into the starting line-up. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While Kuzma hasn’t exactly been great in the 2nd unit as of yet as he has been working his way back to fitness, the Lakers should be encouraging Kuz to take a larger role in the team and lead the 2nd unit.

Kuzma, while young has the perfect attributes to be a leader of men. In Kyle Kuzma, you have a young man who has grown up in Flint, Michigan, who did not get many Division I offers to play college ball, who was overlooked the majority of his college career. He used people overlooking his talent and skill and turned that into fuel for the fire.

Kuzma is a hard worker who wants to get better at his craft and learn every day, willing to reach out to the titans of the game such as Kobe Bryant in order to learn everything he can in order to be the most well-rounded player he can be. His hard-working demeanor has garnered him respect from teammates significantly older than him. Kuzma has earned his place every step of the way and knows that if he doesn’t work hard it could all disappear.

With a player of his mentality, you need to challenge him to do more. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the Superstars, Kuzma can play the role of the leader of the 2nd unit.

This would allow for Kuz to dominate in the second unit and put the pressure on the other teams 2nd unit. This can elongate the Laker’s lead making it much easier to put teams away early on.

Kyle Kuzma’s talent is undeniable, he has the God-given ability to be a superstar. If he can realize this potential, then the purple and gold have another star on their hands.

Here is hoping everything clicks together on time in order for the Lakers to make a deep playoff run.

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Los Angeles Lakers Roundtable – Part 2

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns
(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Welcome back for part 2 of the Lakers Fanclub UK roundtable. Many thanks again to Matt Evans, Kojo Larsen, Frank Gaulden, and Phil Sizemore for their answers in part 1.

In this part, we hear from Jonathan Kiernan (@JonathanKNBA), Srikar Devireddy (@srikardr999), and Jamie Cox (@_TheJMan81).

The Los Angeles Lakers have continued their hot start to the season with another statement win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 142-125, with Anthony Davis going off for 50 points. 

If the Lakers can keep this level of play up they will be almost impossible to stop come playoff time.

Lets hear from Jonathan, Srikar and Jamie:

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Other than Lebron James and Anthony Davis, who has been the Laker’s most impactful player to start the season? Explain their impact.

Jonathan Kiernan: There have been numerous performers who have given a solid account of themselves so far this season for the purple and gold. Kuzma, Bradley, Caruso, and KCP have been extremely solid and deserve praise for their efforts. However, I am going to go with Dwight Howard.

Howard has shown Lakersnation this year everything they wanted to see in his 1st stint with the purple and gold. He is showing heart, effort on both ends of the floor, blocking shots at an elite rate, setting bone-crushing screens and dunking the ball whenever he gets the chance. He is going about his business and is being a good teammate. While he is no longer the All-Star he once was, he is a valuable piece to the Lakers and will be big in a playoff run.

Srikar Devireddy: “Lebron James and Anthony Davis have been great for the Lakers, securing their place as some of the best players in the league right now. But another player that has been very productive to the Laker’s success has been Danny Green.

His ability to space the floor at all times and hit big-time shots gives him a special gravity on the floor. Green is also being more aggressive by driving to the paint and making effective passes. He is also an efficient defensive player, who is reliable to defend other elite three-point shooters.

Jamie Cox: Apart from the superstar duo, the most impactful player has been Dwight Howard.

I don’t think any Laker fans expected him to be so influential in the majority of games. The way he blocks shots and protects the rim has been on point and his general energy in games has lifted the crowd and his teammates to new levels.

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

2. While the Lakers are firing on all cylinders currently, what is a weakness the Lakers have shown so far this season? 

Jonathan: Inconsistency in terms of effort for 4 quarters has been very prevalent this season for the Lakers,.

While they have been able to put most teams away in the 4th quarter, it would be so more efficient for the Lakers to punish teams early on, build up a big lead and rest the likes of LeBron and Anthony Davis late in the 4th allowing them to save their legs instead of forcing them to make clutch plays late and play big minutes in order to get the win.

Coach Vogel and Co. have made adjustments to the squad when needed, hopefully putting lesser teams away early is made a point of emphasis and leads to blowout wins and in turn, allows the Lakers to rest key players in the second half of the season.

Srikar: In many games, the Lakers look nearly unstoppable, however, they are not perfect. A quarter through the season, one of the Lakers’ flaws seems to be their lack of playmaking.

Now, Lebron James is one of the most effective floor generals in the league and the return of Rondo certainly helps, but when the ball is not in one of these two players’ hands, the Lakers tend to turn to a more isolation dependant team on the offensive side.

Although there are many talented iso players on the roster, it is almost always better to move the ball and get more open shots.

Jamie: The biggest weakness so far this season has been the 3 point line – not only shooting from it but also protecting it.

The Lakers have had tough games against teams who shoot the 3 balls well and despite adding plenty of shooters in the summer, the outside shooting could still be a lot better.

While it has improved over the last number of weeks, consistency from the 3-point line will be key. Defending the 3-point line is of great importance, at times not defending the 3-point line can be put down to effort. Exerting more effort on that end of the floor could lead to a significant drop in other teams’ 3-point percentage against the Lakers.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. In a potential buyout market, who would be an ideal player to add to the Lakers? 

Jonathan: The Lakers could be one of the key destinations for players bought out in the buy-out market. With a team built to compete for a championship, it might only take 1 or 2 pieces to push the Lakers to the next level.

Realistically I could see the Lakers getting players like Jae Crowder, Trevor Ariza, Andre Iguodala and at a stretch Goran Dragic. Players of this ilk would give the Lakers real depth in positions of potential weakness. The Lakers must get depth behind LeBron James as to not run him into the ground in the latter parts of the season.

Srikar: There are a lot of potential players to add that could help the Lakers at the moment, two of which include Keneth Faried and Jamal Crawford.

Keneth Faried could serve as a great three and D player who would be able to further space the floor, as well as help, get more rebounds.

Jamal Crawford could also come in and be a similar player to come off the bench and add some playmaking, an area which the Lakers could have some improvement in. Crawford can provide bursts of scoring and control the pace of the game.

Jamie: The number 1 player that has been talked about for the Lakers to pursue in the buy-out market is André Iguodala and with good reason.

His abilities on defense alone would change the Laker’s ability to guard opposing wings. He would be the perfect fit on the perimeter for this Lakers team who sometimes struggles on defense outside of the paint. His basketball IQ is stellar and would be a valuable asset to this Lakers squad.

His Championship pedigree would also be extremely useful in a team full of experience, the “been there done that” factor will be extremely important in the playoffs.

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

4. If you could bring back a former Laker role player and add him to this squad, who would it be and why?

Jonathan: Lamar Odom without a question. Odom was well ahead of his time, his skill set along with his length would be of premier value in 2019.

His ability to be a playmaker, to rebound to score inside and out and his toughness would lend extremely well to this year’s Lakers team.

Having a point forward like Odom would allow for LeBron to get rest throughout the season and with Odom coming off the bench the Lakers would have one of the strongest benches in the entire league.

Srikar: One former role player that would be great to add to the Lakers is none other than Lamar Odom.

He was a pivotable piece of the championship team in 2009 and 2010 and rightly so. Lamar Odom was an incredibly versatile player, excelling at nothing, but being able to do everything at a proficient level.

Odom could serve as a swiss army knife of the team, being able to somewhat play all five positions, providing solid defense and efficient scoring on a nightly basis. Odom could help the Lakers by being a well-rounded player and giving the Lakers constant production.

Jamie: Lou Williams would be the ideal choice of any former Laker player to add to the current squad.

Anthony Davis and Lebron James contribute around 50% of the Laker’s total points so when they are off the floor, a 3rd man must step up to fill that void. Williams is definitely that guy, averaging a little over 21 points this season so far. He would push a talented Lakers bench to the next level.

Whether part of the starting line-up or coming off the bench, Williams would make a huge impact on a team that heavily relies on LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the vast majority of its scoring load.

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

5. Predicting the Lakers record for the rest of the season and why? 

Jonathan: The Laker’s record will be heavily reliant on their ability to stay healthy throughout the season. While there have been minor injuries to the likes of Anthony Davis and Avery Bradley, there have been no season de-railing injuries which have put the season in jeopardy.

If the purple and gold can remain healthy, then it is quite likely they will be the 1st or 2nd seed in the West. The Lakers have the depth to allow the likes of Anthony Davis and LeBron James to take a back seat in the second part of the season, they will still play a key role in games, however, resting them during back to back games could prove very helpful come playoff time. I predict the Lakers finish 60-22 this season.

Srikar: The Lakers are on a roll right now, however, I find it hard to believe that they can retain this level of production for the rest of the season. I believe that once the Lakers reach 40 or so wins, they will begin to load manage LeBron and Anthony Davis more often, playing them fewer minutes throughout the game.

Because of this, I think they will start to win fewer games, ending the season with around 55-60 total wins.

Considering their schedule and projected season-script, I have them ending the regular season with a record of 58-24.

Jamie: The Lakers will face a much tougher schedule from here on in but there is no reason why they cannot have a 60 win season.

Thus far, they are not slipping up against some of the weaker teams like they have done in the past, but it is so tough to keep the high energy up for an 82 game season.

Taking this into account and some load management for the big 2, not to mention injuries, a realistic target should be 55-60 wins before the real tough games start in the postseason playoffs.

Many thanks to Jonathan Kiernan @JonathanKNBA, Srikar Devireddy @srikardr999, and Jamie Cox @_TheJMan81 . Give them a follow on Twitter. Once again thank you to Matt Evans @Mattyyyevans, Phil Sizemore @phsizemore, Kwadwo ‘Kojo’ Larsen @kwadwo_l and, Frank Gaulden @FrankGaulden

Here at Lakers Fanclub UK, we are proud of the hardworking contributors who lend their talents to the website. Their dedication and love of the Los Angeles Lakers is felt in each and every article and we thank them for their stellar work.

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

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Los Angeles Lakers Roundtable: Part 1

Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a red hot start to begin the year. Even the most hardened non-Laker fans must admit that this Lakers team has the chance to be something special.

With LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the charge, the purple and gold look like a powerhouse capable of making a deep playoff run.

Here at Lakers Fanclub UK, we are proud to have a group of dedicated, talented and hard-working contributors who love everything Los Angeles Lakers.

We have all gotten together to give our opinions on some pressing Lakers questions that could be important this season.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series.

dwight howard 2019
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

1. Other than Lebron James and Anthony Davis, who has been the Laker’s most impactful player to start the season?

Matt Evans: “Alex Caruso. He’s the perfect role player for any roster, the Lakers are truly blessed to have him. For a player of his talents and impact to have been picked up undrafted, through the G-League, is a steal.

He does the dirty work, drawing charges, earning the Lakers extra possessions. He is solid on defense too, always locked into his duties, being a nuisance, causing opponent errors. He’s currently 4th on the Lakers in steals per game, with 1.1. And 5th in plus/minus out of the entire roster, which shows his consistency night-in-night-out. Plus, those dunks from time-to-time are fun!

Phil Sizemore: “Dwight Howard. This team has a lot of guys showing their best game right now, but none of them have the game-wide impact Dwight can have. His ability to switch and stay in front of guards – he’s had great stretches this season against fast guards like Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – as well as protect the rim and rebound is huge for the defensive game the Lakers want to play.

If he and Davis stay able to keep guards in check 1v1 when called upon, then the Lakers have found a way to avoid the dreaded size/quickness trade-off with their two best bigs. It’s a recipe for a historically good defense. He’s also been active and unselfish on offense, which is the cherry on top.

Kwadwo ‘Kojo’ Larson: For me the most impactful player on this roster so far this season has been Dwight Howard. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with his ability to stay locked in defensively and his energy to always be a team player. His contributions off the bench have been monumental for this team and are a reason why the team has had this level of success so early on this season.

Frank Gaulden: Aside from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the most impactful player for the Lakers to start the season has surprisingly been Dwight Howard. With Anthony Davis insisting on playing the bulk of his minutes at power forward, the Lakers needed a center who could capably play alongside Davis.

Howard has done this by making an already improved defense even better. The combination of he and Davis has led to stifling defense. According to Basketball-Reference, Howard’s offensive rating is 127, meaning that the Lakers score 127 points per 100 possessions with Howard on the floor. At the same time, his defensive rating per 100 possessions is 99. This is an impressive ratio and it is why Laker fans’ attitudes have done such an about-face since his signing late in the summer.

Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

2. While the Lakers are firing on all cylinders currently, what is a weakness the Lakers have shown so far this season? 

Matt: The Lakers haven’t shown too many weaknesses so far this season. Early on it was the ability to defend the 3-point line that looked to be an issue, but that hasn’t been too bad throughout the season so far, despite slips now and then.

A weakness though would be the ability to do work offensively from the 3-point line though. Statistics show that the Lakers don’t focus their game too much on shooting beyond the arc. But at times this season, the Lakers have converted poorly from 3-point land. If they could find some consistency in that category, maybe some of these wins could be more comfortable.

Phil: Ball handling at the guard position. We saw this coming before the season with the roster construction, and the injury to Avery Bradley, who is the only handling guard on the roster aside from Rajon Rondo, has made the problem worse. But being dependent on Rondo for play-making when LeBron James doesn’t have the ball isn’t great no matter how good a distributor Rondo is, because it makes the offense predictable.

Additionally, Rondo likes to command a set offense, which makes him a sub-optimal partner for high-level improvisers like Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso. The team could use one more ball-handling guard who can run the pick and roll and find guys like Kuzma on cuts to the basket, but without the ball-dominance that comes with using Rondo as much as they have.

Kojo: As of right now, there isn’t any clear weakness for the Lakers. If you would have asked me 3 weeks ago, I would have said the three-point shooting was a problem, however, as of late, the team is shooting just under 50% from the three-point range.

The Lakers are pretty much solid in all areas of the game and that is why I hold the belief that if this team can stay healthy we are certainly title contenders.”

Frank: The biggest weakness the Lakers face is their lack of credible wing defenders. Notwithstanding LeBron’s defensive resurgence, their lack of wing defense was seen in the games they’ve lost.

The few teams that have bested the Lakers thus far have all had one thing in common: dominant wing play for which the Lakers could not adequately matchup.

The Lakers have lost to the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors with Pascal Siakam, and Dallas with Luka Doncic. With the current crop of wings, aside from LeBron James, consisting of Kyle Kuzma or an out-of-position Danny Green or often mismatched Kyle Kuzma, it is clear the Lakers must tighten up this loose end for their stellar defense to hold
up against wing-heavy competition going forward and in the playoffs.

Adam Pantozzi-NBAE via Getty Images

3. In a potential buyout market, who would be an ideal player to add to the Lakers?

Matt: All eyes appear to be on Andre Iguodala, and that is realistic. He should get bought out from the Memphis Grizzlies eventually if they can’t find a trade suitor. The Lakers need a defensive-minded wing presence at the moment, and Iguodala would fit the bill. Even at 35-years-old, he could be an impact player in multiple facets of the game, defense (as previously mentioned), rebounding, distributing the ball, and shooting.

Another good option would be a wing, Jae Crowder, who is also currently with the Grizzlies.

Phil: Everyone says Andre Iguodala and his usefulness is obvious, but a ball-handling, distributing guard who can also get his own shot seems a more pressing need for this team than perimeter defense.

Reggie Jackson in Detroit is an intriguing prospect in that regard. He’s making a lot of money at the end of his prime and Detroit is an objectively bad basketball team. Detroit should be looking for younger talent to pair with Drummond. Jackson is a free agent after this year, so he doesn’t stand to lose much in a buyout if he wants to play on a contender.

Coming off the bench as a ball-handling scorer who is capable of both getting hot himself and making decent reads on the fly, he could help unlock the Lakers’ offensive tools when LeBron is off the floor or away from the ball.

Kojo: “The Lakers would be in prime position if the Memphis Grizzlies can buyout Andre Igouadala’s contract. Many fans of the purple and gold believe that the team could do with another wing player who’s aggressive on the defensive side of the game.

Numerous NBA experts and analysts believe at this rate the purple and gold are the favorites to make it to the conference finals alongside their cross-city rivals the L.A Clippers. To beat the Clippers, you will have to create defensive matchups to nullify the likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Adding Iggy to the mix would go a long way in doing this.

Frank: The obvious choice for the most ideal player the Lakers can add in the buyout market is forward Andre Igoudala.The major problem with this is that Memphis knows he’s an ideal fit for not only the Lakers but also several other NBA contenders such as the Clippers.

Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Memphis does not plan to buy out Igoudala, but will only entertain a trade for him. With Igoudala’s current contract totaling a whopping $17 million in 2019, he is harder to move in a trade than one might think. So it may be that Memphis is merely posturing to see what they can get at this point. Memphis has nothing to lose by holding onto him until the last possible second to see if a team gets desperate.

A player that also plays in Memphis, Jae Crowder, who is also a wing player could fill a similar role to Igoudala, though it’s unknown if Memphis would buy him out either.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. If you could bring back a former Laker role player and add him to this squad, who would it be and why? 

Matt: “It’s a no-brainer, Lou Williams. He is the ultimate scorer off the bench. Kyle Kuzma has been relatively inconsistent in such a role so far this season, but he should find his groove eventually. But Williams would provide the scoring punch needed to pull away from teams in close games and carry the team when LeBron and AD go cold.

It’s just a shame he’s doing just that currently with the Clippers.

Phil: Hands-down, this is Michael Cooper. Cooper was such a hounding defensive presence that he won DPOY from the bench in 1987, which is the sort of need the Lakers are looking to fill eventually with Iguodala.

He had both the size and quickness to defend elite wings like Kawhi Leonard and James Harden and got a sort of manic glee from irritating great offensive players. His overall offensive game wasn’t elite, but it was unusually complete for a role player. He was a capable handler, slasher, and distributor as well as a league-leading outside shooter who also happened to possess the athleticism to play above the rim. Bringing Cooper back would eliminate essentially every weakness this Lakers team still has.

Frank: If the Lakers could go back in time and take a past Laker role player to fit on the current 2019 squad, the player they should obtain is Rick Fox. Since the Lakers need a wing defender, few former Laker role players could fill this void more capably, if any.

Fox played on a Laker team where everyone other than Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had to accept a secondary role. Fox did this capably by being the perfect, gritty, “3 and D” role player the Lakers needed. On the current team where the pecking order is equally as defined with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Rick Fox’s skill set would fit perfectly within the team concept and a position of need.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

5. Predicting the Lakers record for the rest of the season and why? 

Matt: The Lakers could win around 60 games, it could be more, however. When the team has lost this season, they have bounced back in a resilient fashion. But the time will most likely occur where a losing streak kicks in, and that’s where some games could be dropped from the win column.

1st place in the West is the goal, but it isn’t the end of the world if the Lakers slide to the 2nd or 3rd. As long as they maintain that home-court advantage going into the playoffs. All of this is, of course, depends on the health of the roster moving forward, however.

Phil: During the preseason, ESPN predicted the Lakers would win approximately 46.6 games. For perspective, the Lakers would have to end the season 38-32 after their 19-3 start to have as few as 47 wins. They will have a much trickier schedule from December through the yearly long road trip in January, but the end of their season projects to be nearly as soft as the early games were.

The eye-opening performances they turned out on back-to-back nights in Denver and Salt Lake City demonstrated that when this team is healthy and focused on getting a win, it doesn’t matter who they’re playing or where the game is. Barring a significant injury to a superstar, these Lakers are a 60-65 win team.

Kojo: “The Los Angeles Lakers will have a record of either 58-24 or 60 -22. I’m proclaiming this!!! If the teams stay healthy I have no reason not to believe that they will accumulate high amounts of wins in the regular season.

To go into more detail, a 1st or 2nd Seed is where I can see the Lakers finishing this season.

Frank: The Lakers’ current record puts them on pace for 70 wins. However, their most likely record by season’s end will be somewhere from 55-60 wins. As the season goes on, the Lakers are likely to find an increasing amount of games in which to load manage LeBron James and Anthony Davis who has missed very little game time in the first quarter of this season.

The Lakers’ December schedule has been and will continue to be extremely difficult which will likely add some more losses to the Lakers’ record. For instance, three games leading up to Christmas day include the Milwaukee Bucks, the Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers.

An NBA team would be hard-pressed to play a more difficult three-game stretch in an NBA season. After the grind of the regular season, the Lakers would be smart to give Davis and LeBron rest leading into playoffs so they are as fresh as can be when they will be needed most.

Many thanks to Matt Evans @Mattyyyevans, Phil Sizemore @phsizemore, Kwadwo ‘Kojo’ Larsen @kwadwo_l and, Frank Gaulden @FrankGaulden for participating in the article.

Part Two is coming soon!.

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

NBA Store Europe: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout. This is not limited to Lakers gear, the discount is available site-wide on any product you wish to purchase!

3 Superstars the Los Angeles Lakers Could Target Post-LeBron James

(Image/AFP Photo/Sean M. Haffey)

With the Los Angeles Lakers missing out on their main target in superstar forward Kawhi Leonard this past summer, attention must now switch to free agency 2021. Who will the purple and gold target?

With the summer of 2019 finished, the Lakers will look back at the period as somewhat bittersweet. While the Lakers were able to fill the roster with quality depth and solid starting-caliber players to join superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it will also be remembered as the summer in which they missed out on current NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, to cross-city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.

The purple and gold have moved on and started the season strongly, however, a plan must be put in place for the future. While 2021 is 2-years away, it is set to be potentially just as talent-filled as this past action-packed free agency was.

Even though we all hate to admit it, LeBron James’ career is closer to the end then it is to the beginning, and the Lakers desperately need to have provisions in place for when he decides to call it a day.

Image result for lebron james bradley beal
(Image/Ned Dishman/NBAE)

With James having a player option in the summer of 2021, it isn’t entirely unlikely that he decides to finish his career back in Cleveland again where it all began. I also wouldn’t rule out him taking a major pay cut to help his team add a 3rd superstar, but let’s go under the assumption that he leaves the Lakers in 2021.

While the Lakers may be in good hands with Anthony Davis on the roster (who is expected to sign long-term), they will need to create a team capable of not only helping LeBron James short term but also help Davis win and become sustainable post-James.

While there will be a lot of talent available in 2021, but there may be only a select few who will be capable of pushing the Lakers over the top to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.

There are players like Kawhi Leonard, Paul GeorgeRudy Gobert and DeMar DeRozan available, but the likes of Leonard and George will more than likely not be options after recently signing with the Clippers. Gobert and Davis do to similar jobs on defense, and DeRozan would be an option at the right price but his terrible 3-point shooting this season leaves cause for concern.

Here are 3 players who will be available in free agency in 2021, who could join Anthony Davis, and make a large impact.

Image result for giannis antetokounmpo 2019/20

Giannis Antetokounmpo

If you’re going to go after a superstar, you might as well go for the reigning MVP, the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not since the days of Shaquille O’Neal and prime LeBron James, has the NBA had a more physically dominant player than Antetokounmpo.

With his eye-popping length, his otherworldly athleticism, and his ability to play positions 1 through 5, makes him one of the most unique players in NBA history.

What truly sets Antetokounmpo apart from nearly the entire league is his ability to be elite on both ends of the floor. Don’t dare try and go to the rim when the Greek Freak is in the paint otherwise he is swatting your shot into the stands. Now try and beat him on the perimeter, he is either going to strip the ball, get into your chest, alter your shot, or lull you into the paint only to embarrass you.

His ability to do that makes him a great defender, his ability to do that at every position makes him the elite of the elite. Even though Rudy Gobert won the Defensive Player of the Year this year, I don’t think many people would have raised an eyebrow had Giannis Antetokounmpo won.

On the other side of the ball, Antetokounmpo will physically bully you into submission, while he may not have a consistent 3-point game, he hasn’t needed it so far in his career as he has no problem getting to the rim at will.

If he was to become a knockdown 3-point shooter, then we might be witnessing the dawn of potentially one of the greatest players to ever play the game. While he has a lot left to prove before getting to that stage, he is well on his way to true greatness.

Securing Antetokounmpo alongside Anthony Davis would give the Lakers two of the best and most physically dominant players in the NBA. It would be the ideal time for Davis and Antetokounmpo to take the mantle and push the Lakers forward for years to come.

The purple and gold have laid the groundwork with the hiring of Jason Kidd and the signing his younger brother Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way deal. They have 2-years to prepare for Giannis, they better get started on their pitch

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(Image/Getty Images)

Bradley Beal

While Bradley Beal has signed a 2-year, $72 million extension with the Washington Wizards to secure the bag, let’s not completely rule him out of moving elsewhere as the Wizards don’t seem to be going anywhere in a hurry.

While the Lakers were able to address the 3-point issues at the Shooting Suard position this off-season by adding Danny Green, it may only be a short term solution to a problem the team have had for many years. While Green is a sharpshooter and an excellent defender, he is also 32-years of age and has never been known to be a high volume scorer with a career average of 9 points per game.

While I truly believe that Green will have a career year with the purple and gold, the Lakers must have a close eye on the future, so by the time Green’s contract is finished, they have a replacement capable of filling in for him who will be able to score at a high clip each game also.

If you are looking for a Shooting Guard, who will get you 20+ points per game, who can shoot the lights out from anywhere on the floor, and has a career 3-point average of 38.4%, then Bradley Beal is your man. In the absence of All-Star point guard John Wall, Beal has stepped up in a big way and became the leader of the Washington Wizards and over the last two seasons has been an All-Star.

The Lakers could desperately use Beal’s shooting abilities as they haven’t had a consistent knockdown shooter since Kobe Bryant retired. Adding Beal would not only help out the team enormously but I think Beal himself would benefit greatly from the gravity in which LeBron James and Anthony Davis would demand.

Davis will require double teams nearly every time he touches the ball, if you disrespect him by man-marking him, then he is going to dominate his man and get an easy bucket. Beal would be the recipient of countless wide-open shots due to this. Beal would also be a huge part of the offense, being able to facilitate, as well as score.

While Beal signed an extension this season, it wouldn’t shock me if he looked to move elsewhere as the Wizards have had an abysmal Front Office for many years. Also with promoting Tommy Sheppard to General Manager shows that they are struggling to attract any top-level executives. Having Beal on the Lakers would set the franchise up perfectly for numerous title runs moving forward.

Having to trade for Bradley Beal does come with its setbacks, and may cost them a player like Kyle Kuzma, but he is a player who could be worth it, and could have a massive impact on the Lakers long term.

Image result for victor oladipo 2019
(Image/Hoops Habit)

Victor Oladipo

A player that has impressed the hell out of me in the last number of years, is Victor Oladipo. He has shown that he is a superstar in this league. Ever since his move to the Indiana Pacers, Oladipo has shown enormous potential on both sides of the ball.

While playing beside Russell Westbrook whilst on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Oladipo was relegated to a catch-and-shoot role and was always waiting on Westbrook to get his shot off and if that wasn’t open, Oladipo would be getting his shots.

As soon as he made the move to the Pacers, he was finally able to become the player he always knew he could be. Whether he is torching you with his speed and ability to get to the rim, he is pulling up from the 3-point line. Oladipo has an extremely well-rounded game that led to him being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2018.

While he is currently dealing with a knee injury, he is expected to make a full recovery and will be highly sought after in the summer of 2021. He would certainly offer a long-term solution for the Lakers at Shooting Guard position. His ability to shoot, and to facilitate, would take some of the pressure off Anthony Davis, and would allow for a top-notch secondary scorer.

A Davis and Oladipo pairing would be very hard to stop, and if you add top-notch depth to that roster, rather than chasing a 3rd superstar, then the Lakers would be capable of competing at the very top of the NBA for many years to come.

The Lakers’ job between now and then is to show these potential free agents that they are capable of competing for championships. If they can make some deep playoffs runs then the likelihood of landing the big fish the future increases.

The pressure is on over the next two seasons to put their best foot forward. Here is hoping that happens.

By Jonathan Kiernan (@JonathanKNBA)

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

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Looking at Anthony Davis’ Injury History

(Image/Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

With a minor thumb injury in pre-season and recent shoulder troubles, is Anthony Davis’ injury history a concern?

It could have been so much worse. During the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 2nd pre-season game against the Brooklyn Nets on October 12, Anthony Davis went to reach for the ball, a routine defensive play, however, in doing so his thumb was forced in an unnatural position causing Davis to grimace with pain. Luckily the injury was minor, and he returned after a few days.

In the Lakers’ recent regular season game against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 30, Davis left the game with an apparent shoulder issue, much to the worries of fans. But returned to drop a historic, record-breaking 40 point and 20 rebound performance, in a blowout victory.

However, with both short-lived debacles, it has left many fans of the purple and gold wondering about Anthony Davis’ previous injury history.

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(Image/Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Is Anthony Davis injury prone?

Upon looking at Anthony Davis’s injury history since he entered the league as the 1st overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, it is easy to jump to the conclusion and label him as injury prone.

Without a shadow of a doubt, you can look at the laundry list of injuries he has picked up during his time in the NBA. However, you only need to look at the roster in which Davis had around him to understand how he was able to pick up a multitude of injuries,

During his time with the New Orleans Pelicans, the best players Davis had at his disposal were Jrue Holiday and for one single season, DeMarcus Cousins. While both of these players are former All-Stars, the vast majority of possession went through Davis’ hands, an unusual request to ask of a big man.

With the ball being in Davis’ hands and so much being asked of him so young, Davis was asked to play a ridiculous amount of minutes since he entered the league. 

Each year he ranks in the top percentile of minutes played in the NBA which can lead to a higher probability of picking up an injury. He joins the likes of current teammate, LeBron James, on this list.

With James previously having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland, and Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami, it took a lot of the pressure off of his body, leading him to do his best work.

With a lighter load, a deep roster, and players like Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James, you are going to see Anthony Davis play with a lot less stress and strain on his body, you will see a player with a lot more energy and we will see a potential MVP caliber season from the 26-year-old superstar.

Another caveat to add is the hiring of Dr. Judy Seto to the Lakers staff. Dr. Seto is world-renowned in her field and was responsible for keeping Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on the floor during his illustrious career.

Having Dr. Seto available, as well as the Lakers being closely linked to UCLA medical center, gives the franchise some of the best resources to keep each player in top physical shape throughout the season.

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(Image/Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Will Anthony Davis ever complete a full NBA season?

As NBA fans, we expect superstars to play every single game, we want to switch on the game and see LeBron James and Anthony Davis for 82 regular-season games putting opposing teams to the sword. While this would be amazing to see, it just isn’t that realistic in this day and age.

In 2019, playing a superstar every game is more counterproductive than you think. All basketball fans should want one thing for their franchises and that is playoff basketball, and competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Look no further than the 2015/16, 73-9 Golden State Warriors. A truly historic team that redefined excellence in the regular season.

Having beaten Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls’ regular-season record, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that this team would go on to complete their historic season by lifting the NBA Championship trophy, capping off an unforgettable campaign. However, LeBron James and Co. had different ideas. The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Warriors in 7 games. 

The likes of Draymond Green and Steph Curry lamented that the strain of the regular season, and trying to break the regular-season record left them fatigued during their playoff run. Understandably so.

As long as Anthony Davis is a Laker, we shouldn’t want to see him play 82 games in a season. With the strength in depth the Lakers have in the forward positions, him or James should sit for back-to-back games. They both shouldn’t play significant minutes against lottery teams, and they certainly shouldn’t be playing every night of a long road trip.

The Lakers have enough depth across the roster to get to the playoffs without much exertion. The ideal scenario is having a fully healthy, and refreshed, LeBron James and Anthony Davis going into the postseason. Who can then give it everything to bring the purple and gold another championship banner. We don’t hang divisional banners.

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(Image/Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Is Anthony Davis the player the Los Angeles Lakers should build their future around?

Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the entire NBA, a top-tier superstar, one of the greatest defensive players the NBA has seen in a long long time, and an absolute monster on the offensive end, so….  absolutely he is the player the Los Angeles Lakers should build their future around post-LeBron James.

However, the purple and gold never rest on their laurels. You can bet that the day LeBron James is no longer a Laker is the day in which the purple and gold will be gunning hard for that 2nd superstar to join Anthony Davis. 

Early bets indicate that current MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the Laker’s top target to join Davis. There wouldn’t be a better duo. 

With Davis and Antetokounmpo, you get two of the best two-way players in the entire NBA, you get two of the most physically gifted players to enter the NBA since LeBron James, you get two unstoppable forces who can destroy you any way they see fit and you get two players whose games suit each other perfectly.

In Antetokounmpo, you get the ball handler who at nearly 7-foot tall can see over every defense and who drops dimes at an elite level. You get an unstoppable freight train in transition and you get a player who has that mean streak in him that will stomp on your throat and keep you down there.

In Davis, you get the most well-rounded power forward/center the NBA has seen since Tim Duncan. The brilliance of Davis is his ability to beat you from anywhere.

If you disrespect his game from beyond the arc, he will pull up in your face and drain the 3-ball. If you give him an inch on the perimeter, he will use his elite handles for a big man to embarrass and blow by with his speed en route to a monstrous dunk.

Now try and contain him in the paint. If you put one man on him, he is going to pick them apart with his vast array of advanced post moves, he can also pull this off with double-teams all over him. But for arguments sake, let’s say the double-team stops him from getting off his shot, he has the elite vision to pick out a player anywhere on the court for a wide-open shot.

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(Image/Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s not get started on Davis’ ability to finish in the pick-and-roll.

With all the hyperbole about Davis’ offensive capabilities, you might think that is his strong suit. Oh no-no-no. 

Where Davis is truly the elite of the elite, is on the defensive end. 

He is one of the best rim protectors in NBA history. You get a player who can lock down every single big man in the NBA and who is more than capable of locking down some of the best small forwards in the NBA also. 

Any player who brings the ball into the paint against Anthony Davis will have their shot swatted away, their shot altered, or will walk away from the encounter in considerable more pain than when they started.

Banging down low in the paint with Anthony Davis is like backing into a brick wall that won’t give. With his otherworldly length, Davis will alter every shot you take in his vicinity.

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If you think a LeBron James and Anthony Davis combination is going to be incredible. Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be a pairing for the ages as two players in the height of their powers coming together to decimate the rest of the NBA. For any Laker fans out there, pray that this comes true.

With Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers have a secure and prosperous future. The purple and gold have a player who when it is all said and done will be mentioned in the same breath as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Wilt Chamberlain. That’s rarified air. 

Here is hoping that Davis can bring a Championship to Laker land like the greats of old did before him.

By Jonathan Kiernan (@KiernanJonathan)

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

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3 Offensive-Minded Assistant Coaches Who Could Help the Lakers

(Image/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Lakers have made numerous staff additions to Head Coach Frank Vogel’s staff. However, should they add another offensive-minded assistant into the mix?

The Los Angeles Lakers announced numerous assistant coaching hires for the upcoming season. With the lack of experience the Lakers had with former Head Coach Luke Walton and his previous coaching staff, the announcement of the new staff is a breath of fresh air for fans of the purple and gold.

The overall outlook of the new coaching set-up is defensive-minded, tough, and highly experienced. With the likes of Frank Vogel and Lionel Hollins, you have two coaches who preach hard nosed defense, as well as a blue-collar mentality.

With Jason Kidd, you get a coach credited with assisting the current Most Valuable Player of the NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo, become the dominant player he is today.

Back in January of 2018, Rich Rovito of the Associated Press via, quoted the Antetokounmpo saying the following about Kidd:

“He’s a big part of my success in the league.. I’m loyal to the people I work with. I love him as a person. I care about him as a person.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Phil Handy provides the Lakers with a highly respected, and admired, player and skills development coach who already has previous ties to LeBron James during their time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last but not least, Mike Penberthy, the Lakers finally get the shooting coach they have needed for quite some time. With all these new additions, the purple and gold have finally surrounded LeBron James, and now Anthony Davis, with a staff and roster capable of competing for a championship.

While all these coaching changes have been welcomed with open arms, there seems to be a lack of offensive-minded coaching on the staff.

With Frank Vogel, Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins not being renowned for their offensive sets or being innovators on the attacking side of the ball, one wonders whether the Lakers could benefit from adding an offensive-minded assistant coach.

With that being said, here are 3 options for the Lakers should they decide to go down the route of adding an additional coach.

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(Image/Daily Knicks)

Jeff Hornacek 

Remove Jeff Hornacek‘s tenure with the New York Knicks, and you have a coach who plays a fast, up-tempo style of basketball.

The Knicks experiment was doomed from the very beginning, with the shadow of the all-time great Phil Jackson in the front office. Jackson demanded several triangle offense sets to be ran, which made it extremely hard for Hornacek to implement the system he wanted.

It was the perfect storm of having an incompetent front office, not having the necessary players to fit the system, and having your boss demanding you to alter your system to a style of play that in the modern NBA is outdated.

You only need to look at Hornacek’s time with the Phoenix Suns to get an accurate view of what his brand of offense can look like.

In theory, Hornacek would have been an ideal hire last season to Luke Walton’s staff, as his style of play would have thrived. Especially with the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram being able to push the pace, using their young legs, and ability, to run his system to perfection.

Hornacek’s offense would fit perfectly with this current Lakers roster too. With 3-point shooting, floor spacing, and pick-and-roll sets being of high importance, the Lakers have just the right personnel for this to work.

In Anthony Davis, you have a player who is an elite roller to the rim, in LeBron James you have an elite pick-and-roll passer, in Danny Green you have an elite pick-and-pop shooter, and in Kyle Kuzma you have another 3-point shooter capable of punishing teams if you leave him open.

Jeff Hornacek is currently unemployed, and he might be an ideal person to bring into the fold to add an offensive weapon to the coaching staff.

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Dave Joerger

While he is not an immediate choice when you think of offensive-minded coaches, Dave Joerger in his final year with the Sacramento Kings did show potential to adapt to changing circumstances.

Similar to Lionel Hollins and Frank Vogel, Joerger hung his hat on being a defensive-minded, grit-and-grind Head Coach. His idea of winning was slowing the game down, grinding out the opponent, and playing tough defense.

However, last season with the Kings, Joerger was able to see that the players under him did not suit the style of play he preaches. They possessed no defensive anchor to build around, and asking a young energetic point guard like De’Aaron Fox to slow down seemed counter-productive.

Rather than sticking to the system he knew, Joerger changed his ways to accommodate his players. As a result, the Kings played some of the fastest, most attractive basketball we saw last season. Not since the days of Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, and Chris Webber had the Kings been so exciting to watch.

If Dave Joerger can bring a similar philosophy to the Lakers this season, and adapt to the players to fit in with the system implemented, then Los Angeles might be a great landing spot for him.

He might just be the right man to inject even more speed and excitement into this solid roster.

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(Image/Associated Press)

Fred Hoiberg

Considered an offensive-minded genius in the college ranks, Fred Hoiberg struggled greatly during his time with the Chicago Bulls.

During his time coaching Iowa State, Hoiberg’s teams were renowned for their floor spacing, with each member capable of pulling up from the 3-point line, this forced opposing teams to give a lot of respect on the defensive end to each player as it could cost them a wide-open 3-pointer if they not.

Whilst at the Bulls he was never given the roster to fully implement his vision as a coach. With the likes of Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, who were excellent players in their own right, they simply did not fit the system in which he wanted to play.

While he eventually was able to construct a roster similar to what he did with Iowa State, it was too little too late, and he was replaced internally by Jim Boylan.

While the Lakers are not constructed like Hoiberg’s Iowa State teams, they do have several above-average 3-point shooters, who with the right offensive system, could do a lot of damage.

With Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Danny Green, and Avery Bradley all being capable of making shots from beyond the arc, and the introduction of Phil Handy along with Mike Penberthy, the Lakers could be a dramatically improved 3-point shooting team this season.

Add Hoiberg to the mix and you could have potentially an elite 3-point shooting team, with great floor spacing.

Hoiberg is the only coach of the 3 named who currently has a job, he is the Head Coach for the University of Nebraska. This would make his potential appointment difficult, however, the purple and gold have been known to splash the cash to get who they want. It might not be impossible to wrestle him back to the professional ranks once more.

With such an array of defensive-minded coaches on this Lakers staff, adding one of the above could lead to the coaching staff becoming more well-rounded. 

With the likes of Ty Lue joining the Los Angeles Clippers, along with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Lakers should be willing to add talent wherever they can to gain an edge.

By Jonathan Kiernan (@KiernanJonathan)

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

NBA Store Europe: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout. This is not limited to Lakers gear, the discount is available site-wide on any product you wish to purchase!

Who Should Be the Lakers’ Starting Center?

(Image/Chris Elise/NBAE)

The Los Angeles Lakers have two starting-caliber centers, in JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, on their roster. Which leaves the question, who is going to win the starting center spot?

In early July, the Lakers were sitting on cloud 9. They had signed numerous starting-caliber free agents, and had padded the roster with fantastic depth and experience.

One of those key free-agent signings was DeMarcus Cousins. Having spent the majority of his career with the Sacramento Kings, Cousins had proven to be one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. However, the Lakers were able to acquire Cousins at a reasonable price due to his recent injury history.

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The Lakers received encouraging signs from Cousins during the off-season. He lost a considerable amount of weight and had ample time to rest and get healthy. Then tragedy struck. Cousins suffered a serious knee injury which effectively ended his season before it had even begun. But the purple and gold were still in a relatively strong position as they had already re-signed last years starting center JaVale McGee.

With McGee, the Lakers get a familiar face who showed growth last season and an ability to be an elite shot blocker. However, with Cousins out for potentially the entire season, Pelinka and Co. needed to add depth at the 5, fast.

In enters former 3-time defensive player of the year, Dwight Howard. While Howard is not the superstar center he once was during his time with the Orlando Magic (2004-12), he still can contribute to a contending team.

With both McGee and Howard on the books to cover the center position, many have been discussing who will start for the purple and gold this coming season.

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JaVale McGee

To most, JaVale McGee is the obvious choice. He held the position last season and did a good job for the majority, whilst starting. With McGee, you get one of the most athletic big men in the league. Standing at 7-feet tall, he is extremely agile, energetic and can impressively get up and down the court with ease.

While he may not be the most skillful, or have the highest basketball IQ, he is capable of slamming down every single lob that comes his way. He can block shots at a borderline All-Star level, and when locked in, he is going to give you non-stop effort.

McGee, when he was locked in last season, looked like a borderline Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Swatting shots left, right and center, he was certainly a big asset to the purple and gold.

Although, with McGee, the good can sometimes be outweighed by the bad.
While he is capable of doing all the above, it all depends on whether he is tuned in or not. An example of this can be seen last season. McGee seemed locked in early on in the season, but when LeBron James‘ injury occurred, McGee’s production went off a cliff.

In his defense, he did suffer pneumonia in December of last season, which is an extremely severe condition. But upon returning he just didn’t seem the same for the remainder of the campaign.

McGee is also likely to make several frustrating decisions each night, which leaves both fans and spectators alike shaking their heads. This can be legitimised by his numerous appearances on “Shaqtin’ a Fool”.

Is having McGee in the starting line-up worth the time and effort? Will we see the shot-blocking borderline Defensive Player of the Year candidate, or are we going to see the lackadaisical, comes in and out of games without making much of an impact, McGee?

If the Lakers get the latter JaVale McGee, then his time in the starting line up will be very short-lived. This is now championship basketball. Title or bust appears to be the expectation in Lakerland.

If he can maintain his focus and lasers in on being the best version of himself he can be, then McGee could be odds on favorite to win the starting job.

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(Image/ Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard

The former Laker, turned villain, is once again a member of the purple and gold to the disgust and anger of a faction of Lakers Nation. The hate is somewhat understandable. During a pivotal and franchise-altering period for the Lakers, Howard departed a mere season after his trade from the Orlando Magic.

Howard leaving left the Lakers high and dry as Kobe Bryant was recovering from a torn Achilles and Steve Nash was fighting an injury that would eventually end his illustrious career. It has taken the best part of a decade for the Lakers to get over his betrayal and now, the former 3-time Defensive Player of the Year has returned.

Why should Howard be considered for the Lakers’ starting spot? Well, while he is not the uber-athlete and dominant big man he used to be, he still has some mileage left in him. Let’s not forget, this is the same guy who was the best player in the Magic-Lakers NBA Finals series of 2009.

While Howard isn’t a 20-point a night guy anymore, he is still a walking double-double. He can still be categorised as an elite rebounder, and while he isn’t the premier shot-blocker of his past, he is still able to disrupt play around the rim forcing opposing players to alter their shot.

Let’s also not forget, Dwight Howard was one of the scariest pick-and-roll big men in the entire NBA once upon a time. Watching Howard set a bone-crunching screen and rolling to the basket was the stuff of nightmares for opposing players.

If Howard can get back to a fraction of that level, he could be very effective alongside one of the best pick-and-roll passers in the game, in LeBron James. Having reportedly losing a considerable amount of weight to be in peak physical shape for the coming season, we might just be getting motivated, in-shape and humbler Howard.

His championship and big moment experience could prove valuable in a playoff series, and could very well be the difference between winning and losing.

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(Image/Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

So, who should be the starting center for the Lakers?

Verdict: Dwight Howard

This could be an unpopular opinion, but Dwight Howard should be the starting center for the 2018/19 season. A few reasons justify this decision. Those being:

  • Dwight Howard with starters minutes on the Charlotte Hornets through the 2017/18 season averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds, per game. That season he only missed one game, featuring in 81. Even in his prime, JaVale McGee has never been able to average close to that in points or rebounds.
  • If Howard is in shape and has some bounce left in his legs, he is going to get a ridiculous amount of open looks with the level of attention that LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to receive.
  • While Howard can’t shoot, LeBron and Davis can, so they are going to keep the opposing defense honest, allowing for him to destroy people in the paint.
  • Howard’s big-game experience will be extremely beneficial to the Lakers when it comes to closing out games both in the regular season and playoffs. I wouldn’t be confident that McGee would have that level to his game he can call upon night after night.
  • With Kyle Kuzma on the bench, having McGee join Kuzma makes the most sense from a chemistry point of view. With both, you have pre-existing chemistry that would be extremely beneficial in that 2nd unit. Add the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso to that and you have a group of players who know how to play together and know each other’s tendencies. With that grouping of players, you could have one of the most potent 2nd units in the NBA.

The possibility of Dwight Howard getting back close to an All-Star level is too much to ignore. The odds are stacked against him being Orlando Howard, but you have to give him a chance to get back to that level because if he can get close, the Lakers would be getting a very valuable contributor to a team that already has championship aspirations.

I firmly believe it will be a battle in training camp between Howard and McGee. It could go either way and McGee has a real chance to stake his claim for the spot, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was given the nod, but the potential of Howard could be too much to ignore.

Keep it simple, Dwight; play a role, work hard, win a championship, and ride off into the sunset.

By Jonathan Kiernan (@KiernanJonathan)

Lakers Fanclub UK are proud affiliate partners of Fanatics UK and the NBA Store Europe. We do possess unique promotional codes for both websites that can offer our readers and followers 10% off site-wide through the following weblinks.

Fanatics UK: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout to receive 10% off. This is not limited to just NBA apparel, but the discount can be used on MLB, NFL, NHL, Football/Soccer gear also!

NBA Store Europe: and enter the promotional code LAKERSUK10 at checkout. This is not limited to Lakers gear, the discount is available site-wide on any product you wish to purchase!