With the end of the 2016-17 NBA season almost here, the Los Angeles Lakers and their front office can begin to turn their attention to the offseason. Although the team is currently on a five-game winning streak, the Lakers will ultimately finish with the third-worst record in the league.
The end of the season also marks the anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s final game as a Laker. Bryant’s farewell season was full of press conferences and gifts from opposing teams, but his last game at Staples Center was one for the books as he managed to score 60 points against the Utah Jazz. According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, Bryant’s last game with the team is one he can fondly view:
“That’s the one game I can watch,” Kobe Bryant says, “and just enjoy.”
Bryant’s 60 points were a season-high and the most he scored since the 2009 season against the New York Knicks where he poured in 61 points. Fans and teammates alike were urging Bryant to shoot every time he touched the ball and he gladly obliged despite obvious fatigue. It took the Lakers icon 50 shots to do it, but Bryant succeeded in giving Lakers fans around the world a proper goodbye before retiring from the game of basketball.
While this current iteration of the purple and gold does not have a superstar yet, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about their core of young players. D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram are showing more flashes of the players they could potentially become. With more time to grow and develop, the two should be able to lead the team in their post-Bryant era.