Kobe Bryant is so confident in the trajectory of the Los Angeles Lakers that he thinks they will eventually leapfrog the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors as the NBA's elite.
"We'll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere," Bryant said on the Lakers' "All-Access" event at Staples Center on Monday.
Bryant played 20 seasons with the Lakers before retiring after the 2015-16 season.
He thinks Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have positioned a young core around LeBron James that has what it takes to grow into a title team.
Los Angeles is 14-9, with six wins in its past eight games. Bryant said the growing pains are part of the process.
"They will figure it out," Bryant said. "They have talented pieces and (Pelinka) has put them in position with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out. So, enjoy the journey because we'll be champions before you know it."
Bryant also commended James for coming to a young team near the twilight of his career.
"It's a test of Bron's patience and also doing what he needs to do to keep the team's head above water," Bryant said. "So, it's a balancing act. They were struggling, Bron got the ball, took control, decided to start playing point, doing everything.
"That's not the recipe for winning championships by no means, but it is a recipe to keep your head above water, to give yourself a little breathing room and now it's going back to teaching how to play the way that we want to play."
The Lakers have won 16 NBA titles but have not advanced to the playoffs since 2013.
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