Updated 11:49 AM EST, Fri, Jan 15, 2021

LA Lakers 2014-15 Season Roster & News Update: Who Will Start This Year for LA?

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All that glitters is not gold in Lakerland.

Kobe Bryant's knees are acting their age, Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin are splitting time at a position neither plans on having next summer (not in Los Angeles anyway), and general manager Mitch Kupchak's biggest offseason acquisition was Carlos Boozer; the waning power forward Chicago released via the collective bargaining agreement's amnesty clause. The Bulls, in essence, opted to pay Boozer to play against them.

The Los Angeles Lakers aren't primed for a championship run. They'd have to finish above .500 first. A feeble goal, sure, but one they've failed to reach twice in the last 20 seasons. Until last season, the Lakers' hadn't won fewer than 30 games since they called Minneapolis home, and they seldom found themselves in the division cellar.

Aging former MVP's commanding the backcourt. Journeymen up front.  New head coach Byron Scott coming off three forgettable seasons in Cleveland. Can anyone blame Los Angeles for lowered expectations?

If--and this is a big if--Bryant is healthy, scoring shouldn't be a problem. The Lakers ranked 11th in points per game, 14th in field goal percentage, and third in three-point shooting percentage without the Black Mamba. Swingman Nick Young filled Bryant's void with a team-leading 17.9 PPG despite just nine starts. The erratic-shooting Young reverts back to sixth man duties once his surgically repaired thumb heals, though that can take anywhere from 6-8 months. Wesley Johnson may start at small forward, but Young's proven he's ready to take on the responsibility.

Nash's first two years in L.A. were nothing short of disastrous. If he wasn't recovering from a fractured leg Nash hobbled through right hip spasm. If nerve problems didn't sideline the eight-time All-Star, an ailing back did. Nash is one tweaked ankle away from handing starting point guard duties to Lin. And that's exactly what the Lakers need.

At 25-years-old Lin hasn't reached his peak. He played second-fiddle to Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston; never free to be the dynamic dribble penetrating guard that launched "Linsanity." The Lakers' pick-and-roll packages are suited for Lin's unorthodox style. Lin isn't the prototypical point guard, but he'll create scoring opportunities for Bryant, Boozer, and anyone else with an outside shot.

Scoring, however, doesn't overshadow shoddy defense. Los Angeles allowed league-worsts in field goals made and field goals attempted. Only Philadelphia gave up more points. Defensive rebounding was just as bad where the Lakers, again, hit the league's basement.

Nothing's improved. Boozer is a short-term solution to a long-term problem and even he has shown steady decline. Boozer's gone from a career-high 11.2 RPG five years ago to 8.5 in his second year with the Bulls to 8.3 last season. That's why so much of the Lakers' success depends on default center Jordan Hill.

Hill isn't physical like a DeAndre Jordan or a shot-blocker like Anthony Davis, but Hill has a lot of upside given a solidified starting role. He posted 7.4 boards per game in limited time. Mike D'Antoni didn't know what to make of Hill, even if the Lakers though he was worth $9 million a year. This is his year to break out.

Bryant's played with comparisons to Michael Jordan throughout his 19-year NBA career. He stands 592 points away from tying His Airness in this, his ostensibly penultimate season. Barring injury, Bryant could pass Jordan sometime in December or January. That is the lone reason to follow the Lakers.

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