I'd like to thank Jeff Little for becoming the second member of my Asylum. Two down, the rest of the world to go.
Triple Threat: Pass
Guess what the Lakers' record was this time last year?
There were a just above par at 9-7.
This year, the Lakers are standing tall above the Western Conference at a staggering 14-1. How is it that they've been able to accomplish such a feat? Well, the fact that they have Kobe Bryant on their side helps. Also, with the deep roster to support the starters, the Lakers have many reasons to be thankful. Here are three that you may not have thought of:
The Lakers have only played 15 games to date. Those games pale when compared to the next five teams below the Lakers in the Western Conference standings who have all played 18 games.
Without taking any success away from their wins, the Lakers' opponents have been relatively easy. They've already played Dallas, Denver, and that other team in LA twice this season. The only real challengers they've faced are Detroit, New Orleans, and a struggling Houston team.
However at the end of the day, credit must be given where it is due. The Lakers thoroughly thrashed teams as of late. After recently routing the Nets by 27 points, I decided to figure the average amount of points they were winning by.
About 11 points.
And in their last three games, they've won by about 15 points.
For every position on the Lakers' team, there seems to be a mentor.
Experienced guard Derek Fisher is great veteran guard to have on your team. Add that knowledge to an up-and-coming guard in Jordan Farmar, and that's makes for an explosive combination.
Sasha Vujacic has been nicknamed "The Machine." The name alludes to the fact that he never stops shooting. So who better to guide him than 10-time All-Star Kobe Bryant? A couple of seasons ago, Bryant picked up a bad rap for shooting too much. Now, him and Vujacic create a good tandem of scoring and defense.
Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom are two big men who handle the ball well and cause mismatches every night because of there considerable length.
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum may be complete opposites when it comes to their physical shape, but when they are out on the floor together; they are an opposition's nightmare. Gasol punishes those shorter than him by simply shooting over them. Bynum's size and athleticism allows him to outwork most at his position.
As far as Vladimir Radmanovic and Chris Mihm, they don't really have mentors, but they've apparently found their niche. (Luke Walton and Josh Powell should confer amongst themselves about how they're going to have to take a pay cut to stay on this team.)
Who are the Lakers without Kobe Bryant?
A couple years ago some may have answered, "nothing." Now, coincidentally enough, it seems as if Bryant has had to do "nothing."
Bryant's stats are down across the board this year. He's averaging four less points than last year because he's no longer forced to take as many shots. He's not forced to take that many shots because he's able to rest about five minutes more than last year. Best of all, his turnover/assist ratio is better because he doesn't have to handle the ball as much.
Have I made my point?
The Lakers and Lakers' fans have plenty to be thankful for this year, including moments like these.