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Why the Lakers Should Be Favored to Win an NBA Title in 2011-12

Joe BarnathanCorrespondent INovember 14, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Andrew Bynum #17 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stand on the court before taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 2, 2011 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

While it may not be the boldest of predictions, the Los Angeles Lakers should certainly be favored to be playing in June.

Why?

Because even though this team got manhandled this past year by the Mavericks, the Lakers are still the most feared team in the league.

Certainly the Miami Heat have components that will make any coach sweat, but when it comes to a team overflowing with talent, the Lakers take the cake.

We often take for granted how hard it is to win three championships in a row. For many people, the Lakers were expected to simply jog their way to a third straight title. However, Dirk Nowitzki reminded them that this is a 30-team league and nothing comes easy, no matter how talented the Lakers may be.

One player who seems to need no additional motivation is Andrew Bynum. For a player who has had many question marks going into previous seasons, this year Bynum is one of the most reliable players on the team. During last year’s playoffs Bynum proved that he still feels like he has much to prove and isn’t willing to go down without a fight.

And while his hit on J.J. Barea was completely misguided, it demonstrated a part of his personality many people hadn’t seen. Bynum has inherited Kobe’s hatred for losing. But he isn’t the only player that will be itching to get back on the court.

I fully expect Gasol to come back in top shape as he has had to take a sufficient amount of criticism from his mediocre performance during the playoffs. As passive as Gasol can be, I have no doubt that he has worked on facets of his game and will start the new season strongly.

As for all the questions about Mike Brown, I think fans will be surprised how smooth the transition it will be for the team. While Mike Brown is very far from the Zen Master, his offense will undoubtedly be simpler than the Triangle Offense. 

In addition, Brown has inherited a veteran group that is ready to win and has been to the promise land before. And though Brown doesn’t have quite the experience of his predecessor, he has energy and enthusiasm that players like Odom and Gasol may respond to in a very positive way.

All in all this is a team that has already proven that it can win multiple championships. However, for the first time in a while, they wont be the top team in the league and will have a much stronger desire to get back on top.

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