Three Reasons That Could Prevent the Los Angeles Lakers from Three-Peating
The Los Angeles Lakers have won back-to-back championships and this season they hope to add another to the collection. Phil Jackson will be going for his fourth three-peat (twice in Chicago and once during Kobe/Shaq era), which by the way is amazing. In my eyes, Phil Jackson is the best coach to ever roam the sidelines (though he sat most of the times) and winning another three-peat will just be icing on the cake thus far in his career.
The Lakers are the team to beat in the NBA, yet the media has thrust Miami in the limelight. It's hard to believe, but the Lakers aren't going to be the center of attention next season and the organization is fine with that. Miami will now understand how the Lakers have felt all these years when the pressure mounted every time a loss would occur. Then there are teams like Boston and Orlando, who will definitely be contenders.
This article isn't about any team preventing the Lakers from winning it all next season but more so, the team itself. Here are the 3 reasons that I believe could halt the celebrations for next season.
We all know Andrew Bynum gets injured on the regular, so there's no need to really get into that unless he somehow misses the whole season.
In all honesty, Kobe is the player that we should really focus on. Despite always being in peak physical form, Kobe has struggled with injuries to his index finger and left leg. I believe surgery was performed on his left leg during the offseason but there is no word on how he will approach the injury to his index finger.
The index injury is very worrisome to me because his shot and form has definitely suffered since the injury occurred. Hopefully Kobe and his doctors figure out a solution to that issue but I still expect Kobe to be relatively healthy come the beginning of regular season. LA can survive without Kobe for parts of the regular season, but without the black mamba, LA's three-peat hopes go out the window.
I've said in previous articles, that LA's bench should improve next season. Mitch did a great job by acquiring talents like Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, who fit perfectly into the triangle. LA also resigned fan favorite Shannon Brown.
The Los Angeles Lakers bench unit was horrible last season. They were terribly inconsistent and turnover-prone despite having talented players.
The bench unit can improve dramatically if Odom decides to step his game up. He is the leader of this bench squad and his inconsistent performances have rubbed onto the rest of the unit.
If this bench squad performs the same way they did last season, it will be awfully difficult for LA to three-peat. I understand that LA has won the last two championships without significant contributions from their bench but this year will be different. Kobe and Gasol have played major minutes and since LA has been to the finals three straight years, it puts more strain on their bodies.
Both Gasol and Bryant are over 30 years old and they can't be playing huge minutes in the regular season. Gasol didn't even play for Spain in the World Championships because of fatigue. The huge minutes will eventually catch up to them, come playoff time and I know Laker fans don't want their two best players performing poorly because of fatigue.
The bench unit will have to produce next season for the sake of our two superstars, and ultimately for the chances of three-peating.
Two-Time Championship Hangover
Championship hangovers could potentially be an issue for this Lakers squad. The team has always been questioned for being complacent at times and fans will have to wonder if the players are still hungry for more championships. No one will doubt Kobe's desire to win but the team has been questioned before.
Artest won't be going after his first championships anymore. You won't have that new player who is pushing every one to their limits like Ron did last season. Sometimes the real enemy can be the Lakers themselves.
Note: If LA wins next year, you have to wonder how Artest will approach the end-game interview. Maybe he'll join in on the bonfires that occur outside the Staples Center, every time LA wins the championship.