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Can the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers Surpass the 1995-96 Bulls 72-10 Record?

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Can the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers Surpass the 1995-96 Bulls 72-10 Record?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

On paper, the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers starting five compares very well, if not better, than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have been compared more than any two players in the history of the game. For all intents and purposes, we can say these two players are a draw, with a slight edge going to Jordan. MJ averaged 30.13 PPG compared to Bryant's 25.40 PPG.

Most importantly, Jordan has six rings and Kobe only has five.

Can he get No. 6 and 7? Only time will tell.

Another great comparison where the two teams look almost identical offensively and defensively is at both forward positions.

For the Bulls, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman are one of the best forward tandems in the history of the NBA. Both are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and for totally different reasons.

First, we will compare Pippen to the Lakers' Pau Gasol and then Rodman to Metta World Peace.

Pippen averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, two steals, and .8 blocks per game. Surprisingly, Gasol averages more points (18.7) than Pippen. He also averages more rebounds (9.2) and blocks (1.7) per game. Gasol has slightly comparable numbers in assists at 3.2 per game and .6 steals per game.

Pippen and Gasol play a totally different style of basketball, but their numbers over their career are a lot more similar than one initially may think.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

 

It's only right if we compare the volatile attitudes and playing styles of Metta World Peace and Dennis Rodman. Both are former Defensive Players of the Year. Rodman, however, has a leg up after recently being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Rodman was a rebounding machine, averaging more than 13 rebounds per game over his career. He only averaged 7.3 points, but his job was to play great defense and get rebounds, and that's exactly what he did. He may be the best rebounder the sport has ever seen.

World Peace is more of scoring forward, averaging 14.2 points and 3.2 assists per game. He also shoots 71 percent from the line over his career compared to Rodman's 58 percent.

Their skills counter-balance one another as both are excellent players for very different reasons. Rodman's rebounding ability may be slightly more valuable than Artest's ability to generate offense, but it sure is close. 

The biggest reason this year's Lakers appear better than the 1995-96 Bulls are the two other remaining positions on the court: center and point guard.

Newly acquired center Dwight Howard is leaps and bounds above the Bulls' Luc Longley. Howard averages 18.4 points and 13 rebounds. Longley averaged 7.2 points and only 4.9 rebounds a game. It's not even fair to compare the two. Howard wins hands down.

Another Laker addition, Steve Nash, will likely be heading to the Hall of Fame when his career is all said and done. The other guard for the Bulls was Ron Harper, who played 17 quality years in the NBA, but he will most certainly never be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

 

Nash is the model of consistency. He scores more than 14 points, he gets a league-leading amount of assists and shoots more than 90 percent from the free-throw line. He's everything you could want from a point guard. He also has the best down the court vision of any player in the league.

Over his career, Harper averaged 13.8 points, 3.9 assists and shot 72 percent at the line. Harper was also in the down swing of his career when he played for the Bulls, having one of the least productive seasons of his career, while Nash can still play with the best of them. 

It's going to be extremely interesting to see how the 2012-13 Lakers gel. If they can work as a cohesive unit on both sides of the court like the 1995-96 Bulls, they may make a run at their record season of 72-10.

On the flip side, there is one major difference: Phil Jackson. 

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