"David Stern just ruined us by vetoing our trade!"
"No Howard??? Now what?
"Who the hell is Troy Murphy?"
Lakers fans have been, to put it lightly, panicking. After failing to make a splash in free agency, the Lakers seem, for the first time in a very long time, to be in a weak position to start the season. Many even claim that the Lakers are only the second best team in Los Angeles.
Lack of faith much?
Trust me when I say, the Lakers are going to be just fine.
I've written before about how the Lakers don't need new players, just a change in philosophy. And as you will soon read, that is just as true now as it was before the lockout, even with the loss of Lamar Odom.
In my previous article, I wrote how the Lakers absolutely had to scrap the triangle to be successful. And Mike Brown thus far has come through.The new Lakers offense is called "Strong Corner." The offense is an adapted version of San Antionio's early 2000s "Twin Tower" offense.
Essentially, Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol will man the low post surrounded by four perimeter players. The exceptions are Pau Gasol, who will man the opposite mid-high post, and Kobe, who will mostly operate in what is known as the "Karl Malone" range of 3-15 feet from the hoop. The offense depends on post play from Bynum, Kobe, and Pau to free up shooters. The offense implements more screen-rolls and set plays than Jackson's triangle.
This new offense will allow Bynum to be more aggressive in the post while setting Kobe up in a range he shot over 50 percent in last season. Overall, I'm very happy with Mike Brown's offense thus far.
And speaking of Andrew Bynum...why are we even considering blowing up our team for Dwight Howard at this point? Has everyone forgotten that Bynum put the smackdown on Howard during their last matchup? Howard got rejected twice and turned the ball over nine times in his last encounter with Bynum. We are just fine at the center position.
Moving on to Lamar Odom, his loss is definitely a blow, as it was done in part because of the Lakers and their lousy handling of the Chris Paul situation. But also, with Bynum set to receive a drastic increase in minutes, Odom would likely have seen a cut in playing time. And as we all know, a disgruntled Odom is an unproductive Odom.
As for Metta World Peace, expect his production to rise. I think he was ill-suited to play in the triangle, and his role in a much simpler offense will lead to a mini-resurgence, if you will.
I fully expect the Lakers to be competitive this year, just like any other. With Mike Brown's defensive prowess, I expect the Laker D to be significantly better than prior years. With Kobe running set plays to set himself up in his favorite spots, he should be happy running this offense and should shoot more efficiently. Also, expect a big year from Andrew Bynum, who I expect to average around 18 points and 12 rebounds a game in this new post-oriented offense.
Laker fans, calm down. Despite a rough offseason, we're primed to compete, as long as the team can gel around Mike Brown's more basketball-oriented coaching style. (The Zen stuff was cool, but it lost its effectiveness with time.) The Lakers never needed another superstar, and they are quite capable of going far, even with the loss of Lamar Odom.