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How Good Are the 2010-11 LA Lakers? Just Ask Dr. Jerry Buss

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IAugust 19, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  (L-R) Pau Gasol #16, Kobe Bryant #24, Derek Fisher #2 and Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers run up court in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Everyone knows the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will be very good next season, but according to Lakers' owner, Dr. Jerry Buss, that's only the tip of the iceberg.

In a recent AP interview conducted during the NBA Hall of Fame inductions, Buss said if the Lakers remained healthy, they had a chance to be the best team he has ever owned.

I'm a firm believer in the power of a positive approach, but think about that for a second.

Buss didn't say one of his best Lakers' teams ever. He said the best ever, period.

Buss has a much clearer vantage point of the situation than the majority of those who would offer an opinion, but I've seen quite a few great Lakers' teams since my purple and gold inception in 1980.

In fact, Buss took over the reins of the franchise in 1979, and the very next year, the Lakers won the NBA championship with a brash, young rookie point guard by the name of Magic Johnson, and a legend in the making at the center position named Kareem-Abdul Jabbar.

That was a great team, but if I were making a list of the top five Lakers' championship teams since 1980, that team would not be included.

The Showtime era Lakers' teams of 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988 would make my list, as would the Phil Jackson-coached team of 2001.

Magic's Lakers are arguably one of the greatest professional basketball teams ever assembled, while the 2001 Lakers had the best postseason run in the history of the NBA.

Do the 2010-11 version of the Lakers really have a shot at being mentioned in the same breath as the previously mentioned Lakers' teams?

Next season's Lakers team will be the deepest of the Kobe Bryant era, and quite possibly the most complete roster Jackson has coached during his tenure.

In his interview, Buss said that he and general manager Mitch Kupchak immediately turned their attention to improving a championship team in the offseason, and all of the Lakers' moves were made with that goal in mind.

The Lakers signed Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, and Theo Ratliff during the summer, as well as extended the contracts of guards Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown.

Blake gives the Lakers a steady, dependable backup at the point guard position, and Ratliff and Barnes provide needed defensive help on the perimeter and in the paint.

Those key additions, combined with Lakers' mainstays Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom, form a pretty good team with the potential to be a great one.

But, as Buss said, the key to a special season lies in the overall health of the team.

The Lakers managed to capture last season's championship despite nagging health issues from Bryant, and yet another knee injury to Bynum.

Both players have undergone offseason surgery and both are said to be progressing well in their rehabilitation.

Assuming the Lakers are healthy, the roster has size, strength, speed, depth, and experience, and the chance for a three-peat is definitely a realistic goal.

But, does this Lakers' team have the potential to be as good as some of the storied teams of the past?

A great regular season and a dominant playoff run would likely seal the deal, but a third consecutive Lakers' championship, by any means, would place the 2010-11 team in the conversation.

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