The Los Angeles Laker's season has come to a tragic end. A lockout is looming. Phil Jackson is retiring from the throne. Kobe Bryant is a year older.
I would agree with Magic Johnson's statement; Blow this team up. The Lakers core consists of Bryant (32), Gasol (30), Odom (30), Artest (30), and Bynum (22). With the exception of Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have shown glaring age effects. Bryant couldn't get past the likes of the 38-year old Jason Kidd. Derek still can't guard quicker PGs. Gasol can't get any stronger without his hamstrings giving out. Heck, Ron Artest couldn't even finish off a breakaway dunk, boucing off the front of the rim. With the Summer of 2012 holding a potential to be another blockbuster free agency circus, the Lakers should take advantage of this. The Lakers need youth to preserve Bryant's body. It's no secret Kobe's on a steady decline, and he needs help. It would be a sad day when Kobe Bryant retires from the game of basketball, but it would be even sadder if he had nobody to pass the torch to.
The Lakers gotta blow up, as Magic Said. So three players from the core are definitely out.
Here is the trade that I used to make most of the roster changes. This explains where each Lakers are traded off to, in this four-way deal. http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=68oevkj
Artest's atrocious shooting has got to go. His stellar defense, hilarious antics, great character, and unforgettable moments in last year's playoffs will be missed. I'm getting teary just writing this fictional article, thinking about losing Ron Ron. With defensive stopper Matt Barnes in town, the defensive impact won't drop as big as you think. The length of the Laker's frontcourt will diminish. It makes me sad to also say that Bynum must go. His heart and soul is the biggest reason that the Lakers made it through the Hornets, and even contended with the Mavericks. Without a doubt, Andrew Bynum has been the Laker's MVP of the postseason. This kid's young future is remarkable. The Lakers would be letting go Baby Abdul-Jabbar with glass of knees. Farewell Drew. As for Pau Gasol, my anger still fuels. I'm sure many of you Lakers fans are still fuming over Gasol's disappearing act. The fact that his dumb disappearing act might be caused by baby mama drama is adding insult to injury. Thanks for two rings Pau, now... Adios.
Derek Fisher: No matter how slow or old Derek Fisher has become, the Lakers cannot let him go. Mitch and Jerry owe it to Derek, as he has been too integral in the Laker's success for the past decade. Time and time again, Fisher drains extremely clutch 3-point bombs in the face of pressure. His veteran leadership, no back-down, and toughness is a great addition to any bench mob. His athleticism has rapidly declined, so a starting job is out of the question. However, he is still a gritty defender who is a great defender against shooting guards, with his great defensive instincts.
Where's Steve? He's been traded to the Mile-High City, but thank you for your brief services.
Trey Johnson: Sure he was just an All-Star in the D-League, but with proper development, Johnson could blossom into a useful role player. He's only twenty-six, so there's some time for grooming. While not blessed with great athleticism, Trey is an extremely smart player. He's a gifted scorer and passer despite his average athleticism and defense. Johnson's deadly mid-ranged jumpshot is as lethal as they can get. He has excellent balance and body control, which helps drain his stepbacks, fadeaways, and off-balanced shots. Trey can make shots for himself, and is also a gifted passer, so he fits in the Triangle Offense if the Lakers decide to keep it.
Shannon Brown: Another prospect with unbelievable athleticism and strength, Shannon Brown leaps over defenders at will. He's not a very good finisher around the rim, but he has shown flashes of brilliance over the season. Brown is able to shoot the three, as well as catch alleys and finish with tremendous power. His astounding size, strength, and agility grants him defensive advantages over other guards. Brown needs to develop his shot more to be very useful for the Lakers squad.
Matt Barnes: What can I say? Barnes is scrappy, hot-headed, tough, dependable, gritty, focused, strong, vocal, feisty, crafty, aggressive, smart, rough, versatile, and fearless. Need I say more? Barnes will get under your skin as a defender. His quick hands, strong body, and quick feet are more weapons for his killer D. Matt is known for his hustle and grit, as he will dive, scratch, and claw for possession. He's also a better scorer than Artest, and has had prominent roles on other successful playoff squads.
Luke Walton: Uhh... Well, he's an amazing passer, joining the ranks of Nash and Kidd passing-wise. The problem is, he can't do anything else. He's smart with a great basketball IQ. Uhh.. He's excellent at lay-ups and catching basketballs? Oooh! His dad is the great Bill Walton.
Devin Ebanks: We all know that this guy has potential to become better than Ariza. Phil Jackson just never plays the guy, so hopefully, Devin will get minutes this season.
Al Harrington: Baby Lamar Odom coming all the way from Denver. Harrington is another versatile 3-4 combo forward who is lights out from behind the arc. He's 36% from behind the arc, once averaging 46% in his prime. Harrington can provide solid scoring from the bench, averaging 21 points on 45% just 2 years ago. He's not known for rebounding or defense, but this marksman can spread the floor for Los Angeles' monsters in the post.
Joe Smith: A former Amare Stoudemire before his injuries and aging, the 35-year old relies on his skills more than athleticism nowadays. The veteran is a solid rebounder and defender with his strength and athleticism. Smith is an effecient scorer, with a lethal mid-ranged J and excellent finishing around the rim. I don't know why he didn't get more minutes this season, as he can be a big help.
Chris Andersen: The Birdman is an energetic plug off the bench. Defense is Andersen's game. At 6'11", the Birdman is a lengthy shotblocker who has great athleticism. He can jump out the gym on one foot, and swat shots into the 239th row. His shot-blocking moniker intimidates penetrating players, but his impressive lateral quickness gives him the ability to guard small and power forwards. The Birdman excels at running the floor with his excellent speed and acceleration. He is a solid rebounder who uses his athleticism to gobble offensive boards.
Theo Ratliff: The Lakers are sure stacking up on defensive centers. Even if the starting and 2nd string center is in foul trouble, the Lakers could grab respected veteran Theo Ratliff off the bench. Averaging 4 blocks per game in his prime, Ratliff is an excellent center with good strength and instincts. He was a useful backup for the Lakers before his injury.
If Phil stuck around, he would be drooling over Deron Williams. Williams has size, athleticism, and skill. The All-Star was thrown out from Utah and dumped into New Jersey, so the Lakers should capitalize on the lost superstar. Deron is a regular 20 point, 11 assist man. His excellent passing should only rise with new high flying teammates arriving at L.A. His impressive defense can be contributed to his combination of size, strength, and agility. His offense should flourish with other stars on the squad taking pressure off of him. Williams is a top-notch star with an excellent arsenal; A killer crossover, the strength and skill to finish layups with contact, and a devastating long ranged bomb. Overall, Deron alone can make the window open longer for the Lakers. Deron's growth alongside Bryant will be a huge benefit for him. Bryant can help him develop a post game, something Deron would excel at, given his size, strength, and shooting touch. Imagine Deron developing Bryant's killer instinct... Scary right?
Make no mistake, the Black Mamba will retire a Laker. The 5-Time NBA Champion ended his chase for NBA Championship Ring #6 in an embarrassing fashion; A sweep, and a 36-point loss. He will come back hungrier, determined, and smarter. Bryant will now be taking a backseat to fellow superstar Deron Williams and the starting center. With D-Will around, Bryant has somebody to pass his torch to. This season, Bryant will be 33. His mentoring will make his new younger teammates immensely better. If this roster change was to happen, Kobe's never ending reign will never end, as he might well chase Bill Russell's rings.
Baby Dirk might be coming to Los Angeles. Danilo Gallinari is one of the brightest young stars in the league. Standing at 6'9", his versatility is amazing. Basically, he has no weaknesses. His shooting is beyond superb, averaging 38% from behind the arc. Danilo has a polished game who is a menace as a slasher, and a terror as a post player. His ballhandling is excellent and he has the profound ability to make his own shots. His IQ is off the charts, as he can see the open player and takes good shots. On defense, he uses his good strength and size to guard forwards, and his fundamentals to guard SF's. His pesky aggressiveness and nose for the ball contributes to his grit. Gallinari may be finesse on offense, but he's not afraid of contact on defense. He's an above average athlete who averages almost 1 block per game in his career. The future is extremely bright for this all-around player. With Bryant helping groom his development, the world better prepare.
Lamar Odom playing at his best is the best power-forward in the game. His tremendous skill combined with his length, strength, athleticism, and fundamentals makes him the most versatile player in the NBA. Lamar is an excellent rebounder down low. On offense, his ballhandling gets him past defenders, but he can see the open man as well. His vision is stellar for a big man. Odom can back you down and finish smoothly with his skill. Lamar has a respectable jumpshot and three-point shot. On defense, he has an aggressive nature and grit for the ball. The 2011 6th Man of the Year will now start for the Lakers.
If Superman wants to wear another jersey hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy on his right chest, then Los Angeles is the smartest move he'll make. Dwight Howard would follow the foot-steps of Shaquille O'Neal; Leaving Orlando, signing with the Lakers, and win 3 NBA Championships. Howard's offensive game would be further developed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who mentored Andrew Bynum. Howard would be playing among two superstars who will attract defenders, so Howard's life should be easier in Southern California. The stress of carrying the Magics on his wide shoulders is finally coming to an end. You could see how stressed and emotionally disrupted Dwight was against Atlanta. Despite his monster numbers, an early 1st round exit was his fate. Can you see how amazingly great this Lakers team could be if you joined us Dwight?
PG- Deron Williams
SG- Kobe Bryant
SF- Danilo Gallinari
PF- Lamar Odom
PG- Derek Fisher
SG- Trey Johnson/Shannon Brown
SF- Matt Barnes/Luke Walton/Devin Ebanks
PF- Al Harrington/Joe Smith
C- Chris Andersen/Theo Ratliff
Things that improved: Our versatility, defense, 3-Point shooting, depth, athleticism, youth, and freshness. Our starting five is a pick your poison situation. Can you imagine these five offensive wizards on the court at the same time? With the new athleticism and youth, fastbreaks from the Lakers may be more entertaining. The Showtime Lakers might have some competition with Deron at the helm. Can you imagine the Alley-Oops with Dwight Howard, Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant, Devin Ebanks, Danilo Gallinari, Lamar Odom, etc. He's never played with eye-popping athletes, being stuck in Utah. Our three-point shooting will drastically improve with Al Harrington, Deron Williams, and Danilo Gallinari. Instead of kicking the ball out to the open Artest for the three, it will be marksman Danilo Gallinari. Instead of the lifeless bench, Al Harrington and the energetic Birdman will come up. Instead of Andrew Bynum missing loads of games due to injury, you have Dwight Howard, who has never missed a game due to injury in his career. Instead of the deathly slow Derek Fisher, you have Deron Williams to start and defend the opposing PG's.
Ahh, the joy of fantasy. This Laker squad would be unstoppable, and I guarantee you multiple championship rings with this roster.