Basketball season is finally here again and the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a three peat. However, NBA powerhouses all over the league are fighting to steal the Larry O’Brien come June. Some fans have bought into the hype of the Miami Heat’s stacked forefront and believe in their domination over the league. Some think that L.A. has lost all the momentum they once had. Either way, the Lakers are a force to be reckoned with and should never be counted out by three “all-stars” with one measly ring amongst them, fighting over the spot light in South Beach.
The Lakers are better than last year right now. The depth is ridiculous. By acquiring Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, the Lakers will win it all. Blake is a passer and that’s exactly what Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum need. Both Barnes and Blake will allow Phil Jackson to spread the minutes and get players healthy.
The Staples Center won’t be giving out so many tacos this season. The Lakers will begin their season at a slow pace. They have won back-to-back championships and have several veterans with multiple rings on their roster. Sometimes, this causes complacency. Also, the Lakers don’t have the freshness of teams like Miami or Oklahoma City. However, a couple of losses in the beginning of the season will be nothing to fret about. L.A. shows up when it matters. The Lakers will be handing out tacos in no time.
Kobe won’t be Kobe right out of the gate. Kobe is getting older and his health is becoming a weekly headline. A more productive Bryant will show up in January. The mileage that he has put on his body is wearing on him. However, one thing that never changes about KB24 is his ability to perform in the Lakers most dire moments.
Though Artest struggled with the Lakers’ triangle offense last season, the 2010-2011 season will prove to be different. By December, Artest will know the ins and outs of the Lakers’ dynamic offensive scheme. His slow reactions will transform into instinct and he will start firing off shots like Kobe.
This NBA season will mark the first time that Pau Gasol gets noticed as an MVP contender. Gasol can pass, shoot, give the screen, and rebound. He has been doing it for years and will do it again this year. His name becomes lost when talking about the Lakers. Kobe Bryant is one of the best shooters in the league. Ron Artest is one of the best defensive players in the league. Derek Fisher makes the most clutch three pointers. The Lakers’ superstars have overshadowed Gasol’s success.
Kobe will be Kobe in the playoffs. His injuries will be gone and hopefully he will remain healthy during crunch time. MVP. MVP. MVP.
The Heat will beat the Lakers on Christmas Day…and most likely again in March. The Heat will have played less games and have a more healthy roster by December 25th. On top of that, the Lakers will still be nursing injuries from their post-season success of last year. The likelihood of L.A. wasting injuries on a regular season game is almost non-existent. Phil will be sure to prevent it.
Although the Lakers are looking rather recreational lately, they are sure to win the West. As of now, the Lakers are plagued with sickness and injuries. After Kobe heals from his recent surgeries and Bynum’s right knee strengthens, the Lakers will start looking more and more like the defending champions that they are. Aside from Bynum and Bryant, Phil Jackson has missed a few preseason games due to sickness. Lamar Odom has several minor injuries (thumb, back, and nose). Theo Ratliff has a swollen knee and Luke Walton has an aggravated hamstring. The Lakers are not at their full potential right now. However, when they are, it could be bad for their contenders.
The Heat-Lakers match up will be an NBA fan’s dream Finals. The Miami Heat will most likely have home court advantage in the Finals since the Lakers usually become lackluster competitors mid-season. The Lakers won’t sweep the series like in previous years, but when the final buzzer rings in game 7, the Los Angeles Lakers will be showered in confetti and Gatorade. The Black Mamba will start on his second hand of diamonds.
The NBA 2010-2011 season will mark Jackson’s last season with the Lakers. Jackson will win his fourth three-peat this season. He will have twelve NBA championship titles. He has broken various NBA coaching records and has won several awards. The man is 65 years old and counting. He has nothing more to gain but more rings. All his milestones have been met. Jackson is retiring as head coach after this season, but his association with the Lakers and KB24 won’t be broken.