Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010-2011 Los Angeles Lakers

It's crazy that the Lakers just competed another three-peat. Now Kobe just gets to spend the rest of his career attempting to be better than Michael Jordan since he's already matched him. I'm just blown away. It's frickin' unbelievable!!!

That's gonna be my opening paragraph in a post about nine months from now.

2010-2011 Los Angeles Lakers

Point Guard: Derek Fisher/Steve Blake
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant/Shannon Brown/Sasha Vujacic
Small Forward: Ron Artest/Matt Barnes/Luke Walton
Power Forward: Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom/Derrick Caracter
Center: Andrew Bynum/Theo Ratliff

You think the Lakers got rougher last year when they signed Ron-Ron? Please. Matt Barnes and Steve Blake are twice as nasty as the Tru Warrior. I've always thought Barnes was simply a punk. That's all. But he did regularly seem to get under Kobe's skin in a way that made him take terribly forced shots to try to prove a point. I'll just be glad that he'll be implementing his crap tactics on other players this year, spelling Artest as his bench mob counterpart. And in the weirdest of all weirdness, Blake seemed to contain Kobe somehow even better. I, no joke, think he was the best one-on-one defender specifically on KB24 last year. I don't know what it is about the diminutive white guy besides the fact that he isn't intimidated by anyone. Ever.

The crazy thing about this Lakers squad is the roster consistency that they've been able to maintain over their last three years of NBA Finals visits. The one and only roster shift of last year was swapping Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest and the only shift this year is swapping Jordan Farmar for Steve Blake and finding out how to split the back-up wing minutes between Barnes and re-signed Shannon Brown. That's it; no other rotation player has changed at all. This extended familiarity with the triangle offense between Bryant, Fisher, Odom, Bynum, Pau, and Walton make this team more and more formidable and well-oiled on a yearly basis. Everyone is only getting more efficient (if you excuse Derek's age and Walton's paralyzing back problems). That's why I, and every major analyst personality, have no fears in the blending of Blake and Barnes with last year's champs. All of the major ball-dominators responsible for implementing the offense every possession are already in place and understand their roles perfectly. This cuts down the burden on the new guys to a minimum of knowing where to spot up and getting out on fast break opportunities. All the off-ball movements will come naturally with time.

What I'm getting at is this team is the exact same as they were last year ... with bench upgrades. If Theo Ratliff has literally anything left in his shot-blocking tank then even he's an upgrade. The rookies aren't going to be responsible for any production as of yet and every single position has a starter-worthy back-up in case of foul trouble, style match-ups, or even extended injuries. It's that simple. This year's team will be better than any of the Laker squads that went to the Finals in the last three seasons. So why shouldn't they win it all again? I don't even think the Heat are going to make the Finals this season, so I'm definitely prematurely re-handing the Championship trophy back to the guys already holding it.

There are a few potential worries, but they're already accounted for. Fisher's age? Blake is completely capable of backing him up for extended minutes or even taking over the starting slot if the torch needs to be passed. Artest's (Laker) sophomore slump? He honestly wasn't a major key to the offense for any extended period of last season at all, so he can only get more comfortable and effective in the offense in his second year. His high this season was only 22 points in a game, doubling his average. His defense and effort are incapable of falling off, so what's going to be the on-court problem? Kobe's decline? Kobe's not declining. Did you actually watch the playoffs? 29-6-6 in the postseason after he didn't even look to intently score for most of the first round series. He's the best player in the game. Bynum's injury-plagued history? The Lakers are used to not having him for half the season now. He plays like an absolute monster whenever he's on the floor without Pau, but he regresses when paired with the Spaniard and not given all the same touches. But who really needs someone else to be effective in the post when Gasol's on the floor? Everything Bynum provides is essentially a bonus to this insanely talented Laker squad. The only thing he needs to provide consistently is defensive effort.

I don't know what else there is to say. If Sasha regains his self-proclaimed "The Machine" shooting ability ... bonus. If Shannon Brown improves enough to keep his spot in the rotation and provides regular SportsCenter highlights and the occasional three-pointer ... bonus. If Luke Walton shakes his back injury and becomes the perfect director of the second unit ... bonus. If Derrick Caracter is in crazy shape and is frickin' good as a rookie that he leaps ahead of Ratliff in the rotation ... bonus. If Lamar Odom magically becomes consistent ... well that's never gonna happen, so forget it.

Regular Season: 62-20
Playoffs: NBA Champions

... and do the John Wall.


  1. As usual, you speak the truth! Bynum will be out for 83 of the 82 games (and no, that isn't a typo). Personally, he might turn into a Grant Hill and be plagued by year-in and year-out injuries. Pau can and will hold down the offense in the low and high post.

    I didn't know that Steve Blake was traded to LA. I remember him playing for Maryland and winning the NCAA Championship in 2000, 2001, or 2002. I was impressed then.

  2. haha yeah, Blake is about that exact same player still.

  3. Does he still look goofy and awkward, too?


so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?