When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Spectrum Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Spectrum Sports Network
For the first time in a long time the Charlotte Hornets will be taking on the Los Angeles Lakers without Kobe Bryant involved in the storyline somehow. The former Charlotte legend has left for greener pastures in the world of...whatever it is that retired players do these days. What replaces Bryant is a young upstart team that is simultaneously exciting, but not really that good despite a decent record.
The Lakers have died and been reborn anew. This isn’t the same franchise from the 90’s and 2000’s that built exclusively around free agent signings and mega blockbuster trades. Their core was built through draft picks and development, despite their best efforts to impede that development with Byron Scott the last couple years.
Even the Lakers coach is fresh and new with first time “official” head coach Luke Walton walking the sidelines. A lot of buzz was created for Walton when he took over for Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors at the start of last season, but the Lakers are exclusively Walton’s team. Every decision that’s made on the court goes through him and the system they run is his.
Their roster is full of youth that range from quality rotation players for years to come to potential stars. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarskon, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr make every Lakers game more entertaining just by being on the court. They’re young, athletic, exciting, and new which is a breath of fresh air to watch.
However, while they might be exciting that doesn’t make this a good Lakers team by any stretch. They started off the season playing decently well, but they’re already beginning to fade a bit with only the worse teams below keeping them afloat and in the race for a playoff spot. Do not let their decent record fool you. This is a bad team.
For the Hornets, they have not played up to expectations so far this month and a win is necessary here. They had a great chance to pull away from the rest of the Eastern Conference, but instead followed up with a losing streak. It’s time for them to get a solid win against a bad team and get back on track to their winning ways.