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Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers: The Road to a Three-Peat

Christopher KeshishianCorrespondent INovember 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 21:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers laughs as he looks on from the bench against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on November 21, 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

By now everyone has heard the story of the new Los Angeles Lakers. It all started with a disgruntled Kobe Bryant wanting a trade. It then continued with an injury to key big man Andrew Bynum. Things started looking up when the Lakers made a trade and sent the basically worthless Kwame Brown, who looked like he had no passion or determination to even grab a couple of rebounds while he played, and a bunch of other players to Memphis for Pau Gasol. That’s where the real story began.

After the Lakers acquired the 7'0" Spaniard, they went on a winning tear. They roared to the best record in the Western Conference, passing former powerhouse New Orleans who were led by the MVP-caliber point guard Chris Paul. They continued the excellence through the postseason. They made it to the NBA Finals but fell short to the soon to be champions, the Boston Celtics led by the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and young developing Rajon Rondo.

The team improved in the offseason without making any huge signings or trades. The Lakers were favored to win the championship with center Andrew Bynum back in the line-up. Although he became injured once again, the Lakers were reluctant to give up and roared to an NBA World Championship, beating out the Eastern Conference Champions, the Orlando Magic. In the offseason, they signed former Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest. This took pressure off of Kobe Bryant on the defensive end. Kobe played through the season with a broken index finger and led the Lakers to a second straight championship, this time beating out the rival Boston Celtics, who found new life in the ever-improving Rajon Rondo.

This brings us to this season. The Lakers are looking to raise their 17th banner and help Coach Phil Jackson continue beating his record by further pushing his ring count to 12.  The Lakers added depth and defense to their bench by signing defensive specialist Matt Barnes and low post shot-blocking veteran Theo Ratliff. They also re-signed bench wing man Shannon Brown and brought in veteran Steve Blake to fill the hole left by the departure of Jordan Farmar. All of these moves have made the team better. But there is still one thing the Lakers can do to make them possibly the greatest team of all time.

The Lakers have a really deep bench, but none of the players are reliable scorers. Lamar Odom is inconsistent, Blake is a pass first point guard who can make the three and Barnes is able to hit open threes at a steady rate, but the Lakers need a scorer to light up the scoreboard off the bench. They need a player like Jamal Crawford of the Hawks but to a lesser extent. It does not need to be a big name player. The Lakers could use their depth to acquire someone like rookie Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is a player who can knock down the J, shoot the three and drive the lane. He is the perfect fit for the Lakers' triangle-offense and could play off the bench and give the Lakers the scoring punch they need. Shannon is showing glimpses of being that type of player, but until he can show more consistency, the Lakers should really consider finding a bench scorer. This could seal the deal and give Phil Jackson his fourth “Three-Peat,” give Kobe his sixth ring and solidify him as the greatest Laker of all time, and more importantly, raise banner 17 next September.

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