Even after he retired, the late great Kobe Bryant kept a close eye on the Lakers, especially after landing LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They were immediately considered the saviors of a franchise that had a few disappointing seasons in which they haven’t made it to the playoffs six years in a row.
Kobe knew that good days are ahead of a franchise when you have 2 of the top 5 best players in the league. The Lakers surrounded them with a solid group of supporting players. They eventually won it all even though they were other NBA teams that various analysts thought were better and would win the championship instead.
In an interview on All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson back in January, Kobe saw the Lakers’ potential, especially when it comes to their size. Bryant said the Lakers are built similar to some of the old-school teams that played in the ’90s in terms of their size and length. Throughout the regular season, they were struggling with injuries, and this is something Kobe stressed out as very important for them if they want to be in a position to win a championship.
They are the biggest team that I’ve probably ever seen. Their length, speed. They are old-school big and tough, athleticism. They look fantastic. I think the biggest thing for them and what they really need to invest in is health. Making sure the strength training is where it should be, making sure you are physically always where you should be. The biggest thing for them is health. If they are healthy, it’s going to be one hell of a freeway series.Kobe Bryant, via All The Smoke
The Lakers used that size and length to their advantage when they played the Miami Heat, which worked perfectly against a predominantly small-ball lineup the Heat played with for the majority of the time. The Lakers have one of the tallest teams in the NBA, and their starting lineup often included two seven-footers in Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard. On top of that, LeBron is listed at 6’8″ while Kyle Kuzma is over 6’9″, and their average height of 6’8″ for a starting lineup is pretty impressive when you consider we are ‘living’ in the small-ball era of NBA.