Are the Lakers on the road out of oblivion?

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Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of this season, his 20th with the Lakers. Photo: Keith Allison/Wikimedia

Kobe Bryant is expected to retire at the end of this season, his 20th with the Lakers. Photo: Keith Allison/Wikimedia

The Lakers stumbled in their first game of the season, blowing a lead and losing by a single point to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Not a great start, but after the two worst seasons in the history of the storied franchise, there does appear to be a reason for some optimism.

We’re not talking about a championship. In fact, most NBA watchers say it is highly unlikely the Purple and Gold will even make the playoffs.

But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a successful year, relatively speaking.

KCRW spoke to ESPN.com senior reporter Ramona Shelburne about the Lakers’ prospects this season, which is expected to be the last for longtime star Kobe Bryant.

Shelburne says Lakers fans need to keep things in perspective. “The whole season for the Lakers this year is about who is going to take the torch from Kobe Bryant when he retires. They have two or three kids on this team who are vying for that torch.”

She continued, last season and in the season opener against the Timberwolves “you saw hope and promise in the kids but they really still are kids. They’re 19, 20 years old. It just takes awhile to to learn how to play in the NBA no matter how talented you are. There are going to be growing pains.”

Listen the full interview below.