Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has warned the "spoiled" LA fans not to expect too much from their side this season in the NBA.
The Lakers, who face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, began the season with an impressive 116-103 win over city rivals LA Clippers, but Johnson, with Kobe Bryant injured and Pau Gasol and Steve Nash yet to convince, expects a tough road ahead.
"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 told ESPNLA 710 radio. "This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced. You're waiting on Kobe to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was. Then you've got Gasol -- who I think is a premier big man -- but he plays better when he has talent around him."
The Lakers' bench came up trumps on opening day, scoring 76 points to spur their side to victory. However, Johnson, part-owner of MLB side the LA Dodgers, does not think there is enough depth and talent in the roster to really trouble the sides, with the legend hopeful the Lakers can at least reach the playoffs.
"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?
"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?'"
Well, the answer to that could be from the bench, with Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar scoring 22 and 16 points respectively against the Clippers on Tuesday, as coach Mike D'Antoni kept stars Gasol and Nash on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.
"We're a deep team, and people don't think we're that good," Henry said. "That always fuels us. People are saying we're going to finish 12th or whatever, but we have a great group of guys who go out there and play hard. We're young. We're athletic. We get after it."
Where to watch
The game is scheduled for an 8 am IST start on Thursday morning but with no live coverage.