NBA Free Agency 2010: The Word in Laker Land Is Defense!

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer IJuly 23, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 24:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass against Matt Barnes #22 of the Orlando Magic in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 24, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Can there be any doubt after the Los Angeles Lakers completed their free agent signings, at least for the moment, that defense wins championships?

The Lakers just added backup center Theo Ratliff and small forward Matt Barnes to their roster, both noted for their strong defense. 

Previously, the team acquired free agent point guard Steve Blake, noted as much for his defense as his offensive abilities. 

The Lakers two second-round draft picks, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, were also defensive standouts in college.

It certainly looks as though the Lakers are counting on a strong defense to win their third consecutive NBA title and to tie the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history.

The Lakers now have 11 players under contract.  Ebanks and Caracter will make it 13 if the two rookies remain as impressive during the preseason as they were in the Las Vegas Summer League.

With Josh Powell expected to sign with Atlanta, fan-favorite Shannon Brown, who opted out of his contract, looks like the odd man out at this point. 

It seems doubtful the Lakers will re-sign Brown and go an additional $2 million or so over the salary cap when they can sign the two rookies for less than a half-million dollars each.

With Barnes coming in, the Lakers will have power forwards Lamar Odom and Caracter on the bench along with small forwards Luke Walton, Matt Barnes, and Devin Ebanks.

They also have reserve guards Blake and Sasha Vujacic.  Do they want to keep Brown, who was hoping to improve on the $2.1 million that the Lakers paid him last season? 

That is the decision general manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jerry Buss need to make.

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