NBA Predictions 2011: How the Season Will Play out for the Los Angeles Lakers

Tim HarveyCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2011

All together now.
All together now.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If you thought the Lakers were embarrassed enough by the Dallas Mavericks' sweep to end last season, then check out what's happened to them over this last week.

Just when the league was back from its lockout and L.A. fans were beginning to write out 'd.y.nasty' once again, David Stern stepped in and blocked a trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lake Show.

And Derek Fisher thought David Stern was done messing with the league. Chris Paul's internet reaction said it all: "WoW"!

What made things worse was that this nixed trade has left a bitter taste in the mouths of trade bait Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol...and they aren't the only ones hurt.

The Lakers' whole frontline feels trenched as Andrew Bynum deleted his Twitter account following too many tweets from Lakers fans anticipating his exit for a new Lakers Magic man in the form of Dwight Howard.

With the controversial Chris Paul trade-stopper silencing other NBA news for a minute—including the Dwight Howard rumors—the focus is now on the fallout this situation has left on the Los Angeles Lakers that are already a team in a state of disarray.

The Lakers could have received (and still could, as a deal in the works is still being negotiated) their most real point guard since Magic Johnson in the superstar Paul. At least they managed to sign hot-shot vet Jason Kapono who gives them their most real three-point shooter since...erm Mike Penberthy.

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Still together?
Still together?Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As Kapono will come off the bench hot and spread the floor, the big plays he make will help make up the little things that will make the 2011/2012 Lakers that much greater. Still the Staples floor could be spread even further if more big guns leave...and that isn't a good thing.

Sure, the prospect of Kobe being joined by Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to form the league's next big-three is one hell of a Lebron, Wade and Bosh matching dream come true for Hollywood-land fans. But is giving up another big-three in the form of Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum really worth it?

These three guys come from the tree of the Lakers' big-man game and are brilliant players. Pau Gasol is one of the best international players in the world, reigning "Sixth Man Of The Year" Lamar Odom's next step is All-Star status and Andrew Bynum is one of the last true, great centers this league has or will have for a long time.

Sure, David Stern may have given us an NBA before Christmas, but he "grinch-ed" the CP3 trade, deeming it unfair for the smaller franchise. Still, it is not unfair to the Lakers that they almost gave up both Gasol and Odom to get him, plus a few good guys from Houston.

The trade was like for like and agreed upon, and although the league may have blocked something great, on the other trading hand they may have saved the Lakers a little.

Odom is the versatile force that opens up a lot for the Lakers. Chris Paul may have been the best quarterback for the Lakers since Earvin Johnson, but Odom's skills are like Magic's too. Plus, the Kobe/Pau one-two punch is a potent and powerful and one that, when mixed together right, is the substance of champagne celebrations.

Waving hello or goodbye?
Waving hello or goodbye?Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So what's next?

Dwight or no Dwight, CP3 or no CP3, the showtime must go on. The Lakers need to get everyone happy and on the same page of Mike Brown's playbook.

The legendary zen of Phil Jackson is gone, and until the Lakers start pressing purple and gold jerseys with the numbers 12 and 3 don't belong to Shannon Brown (there's another issue) and Devin Ebanks (who could be the next great thing), this is the team the Lakers have.

It's time the Lakers undid the hurt caused to Lamar and Pau, and got Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace back into shape.

Let's not play here. When bad times come, it's solidarity that keep things together. If everyone in the Lakers' organisation falls apart, then this really will be the 'Death Of A Dynasty Part 2'. There have even been rumors that Kobe is no longer untouchable. Is that how you repay a man that gave you five championships, Shaq or no Shaq?

O' Neal called Kobe the best Laker ever recently. This kind of behaviour wouldn't have passed with the Lakers' greatest Magic Johnson. Mitch Kupchak knows that. This team is Kobe's until he unlaces his sneakers and is immortalised in the rafters and in bronze next to Magic, Jerry and Chick at the back of Staples.

This team may begin with Kobe, but their are more ends too. The Lakers' Kobe, Pau and Andrew or Lamar offensive force meets with the perimeter defence big-three of Bryant, World Peace and Matt Barnes to hold court over both baskets.

Not to mention the Fish that saved the NBA, the President of the Players Association and playoff, clutch legend Derek Fisher. He still has bullets in his big-shot gun handed down from the Lakers' postseason great Robert Horry.

Also, with a solidifying bench of talents like Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks and promising rookie Darius Morris, there is a lot of potential for greatness. It's just a shame Luke Walton and Shannon Brown—amongst others—probably won't be along for the ride.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul do somehow make Hollywood dreams come true, then you may as well start planning the parade through downtown Los Angeles now. Even if they don't, the Lakers could still taste champagne.

That is, if they don't remain hungover by the bitter taste of loss or Martinis. Sure, the Lakers failed to defend their crown last season, but it's not just defence that wins championships. it's cohesiveness and team togetherness as well.

This is something the Lakers; organisation could learn right now. Whatever happens, it's only going to work with exactly that...work. Who's ready to put the effort in? Christmas is coming, and the Lakers aren't done shopping. Now, how much do they have left?


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