THE last man to lead the Lakers to an NBA championship believes the current batch has what it takes to be a contender again.
Kobe Bryant feels the Lakers can end a five-year playoff drought with LeBron James now leading the way.
The Black Mamba aired his thoughts in a Q&A with Jerry Bembry of The Undefeated.
"Oh, God, yes. C’mon," Bryant said when asked if the Lakers will make the playoffs this season. "C'mon."
Having a mix of young guns in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball and veterans in Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley to complement James makes Bryant convinced that the Lakers are going to turn heads this season.
Bryant even went as far as hinting that the Purple and Gold can challenge the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
"The Lakers are going to surprise a lot of people. Rob [Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager], has smartly built a team of physical players. Big, versatile, fast, physical players. He understands that if you want to challenge Golden State, you can’t challenge them with shooting. That’s what they do,” Bryant said.
"You’ve got to beat them somewhere else. You have to beat them with size. Chippiness. Feistiness. Strength and speed. And he has a team that has that. He has a mixture of vets that are still in their primes and young kids that are hungry and open-minded and willing to learn. A team that can compete and challenge. That is a dangerous mix,” he added.