Magic Johnson warns Lakers of “tough season” – Kobe is the Key
Johnson has asked the Lakers fans to brace themselves for a season that might give few reasons for cheers and celebrations. The former Lakers point guard believes Lakers will struggle this season because of injuries and their shallow talent pool.
“Laker fans are spoiled. I don't know how they're going to react now, because this is going to be a tough season,” Johnson said on radio show Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710.
“This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced. You're waiting on Kobe [Bryant] to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was. Then you've got [Pau] Gasol -- who I think is a premier big man -- but he plays better when he has talent around him.
“You've got guys who are all on one-year contracts, and all were journeymen on other teams. Laker fans are not used to that. I don't know if they're going to buy into that. We're going to see. If you want the Laker fans to really buy in and be involved, you're going to have to win right away. I don't see that happening. The West is tough this year.”
Johnson believes the Lakers should be happy if they make it to the playoffs this year, although it is going to be a difficult task with Kobe Bryant, who will be recovering from injuries.
“I'm hoping that they at least make the playoffs,” Johnson said. “But that's going to be tough, especially without Kobe. We have to see what Kobe we're going to get. Is he going to be that same Kobe or is he going to be hurt a little bit?”
For the Lakers to go deep into the season Bryant needs to return from his ruptured Achilles tendon and turn into a “dominant player” immediately. However, Johnson also believes that Bryant will have to remember to spread the ball around and “give up some of those shots” to his teammates.
“Kobe can get 30 or 40,” Johnson said. “But you have to remember, you need at least three guys who can score. Right now I'm looking at that roster and going, 'Who else is going to get you 15-20 a night besides Gasol and Kobe?'”