The Los Angeles Lakers have the best, or one of the best, starting lineups in all of basketball. They have the best player in the game, Kobe Bryant, and the best big man in the game with Pau Gasol.
Artest provides the rugged defense and toughness. Fisher is the veteran and clutch shot maker that the team can count on when the games matter. Bynum rounds out the lineup, as he has proven to be a solid center with a very bright and promising future, if he stays healthy.
With the starting lineup having so much success, the same thing can't be said for the Lakers bench unit. Within the last two years, Lakers fans cringed when the bench entered the game in relief for the starters.
The starting lineup would build double digit leads and Laker fans would watch that number dwindle, the longer the bench unit stayed in the game. It was sad to see the Lakers have to fight back to either regain the lead or push away, all because the bench couldn't consistently produce.
The sad part is that the Laker Bench hasn't always been bad. The year of the Pau Gasol trade, the Laker bench was one of the best in the league. At that time, the bench was like another starting lineup. They would either get LA back into the game if the starters performed poorly, or boost the score until the game was over. They were a very arrogant and cocky bunch, so much that they named themselves the "bench mob."
With the starters logging heavy minutes these last two years, it would be nice for the 2010-2011 Laker bench to step it up this year. With the new additions, Laker fans are expecting much more consistency from their bench. Here is an analysis on each bench player's role and possible expectations for the upcoming season.