Darrel Wilson @BigMellz of The Sports Fanatic was generous enough to share his Los Angeles Lakers season preview with us.
“Oh Wow! And we get to keep Pau too?” That was the reaction from most of the people who claim Lakers Nation that I interacted with after the megaton bomb was dropped on the rest of the NBA. Unless you’re just returning from a summer excursion in Antarctica, fresh home from an Afghan POW camp or hiding out in a cave… you would know I’m referring to the four-team deal that brought the undisputed best center to LA and sent Andrew Bynum and his knees to have fun with the polite and understanding Philadelphia fans. You can hear groans from the rest of the NBA fanbase about how the spoiled Lakers fans always get what they want.
That was over 2 months ago, now as NBA fans embark on the new hoops season, people need to be reminded that it is actually Lebron James who legitimately gets to call himself “King” and it was the Kevin Durant lead Thunder that knocked the Lake Show off in the second round. What has changed since then? Prior to Dwight Howard arriving, two-time MVP Steve Nash handpicked purple and gold as the color uniform that he wanted to end his career in. So there you have it, that there is all the casual fan and fanatics really care about… Nash is gonna run up and down the floor; throw lobs to Kobe, Pau, and Dwight. Metta World Peace is gonna lockdown the best opposing wing. Crown they ass already (Dennis Green voice). Why even play any games? Because there are legitimate questions that need to be answered, that’s why.
What happens when any of the starters leave the floor?
The bench has been a problem for this team for many years. Management did their due diligence to try fixing this issue by acquiring 14 year vet Antawn Jamison, a former 6th man of the year and twice an all-star. Jordan Hill re-signed with the team after being a highly productive player towards the end of the season. Chris Duhon, who will provide solid cover for Nash (he really should get more time than Steve Blake), and athletic big man Earl Clark was included in the D-12 deal. The front office didn’t stop there as they also signed sharp-shooting guard Jodie Meeks (I dare you to leave him open Scott Brooks). Returning players from last season Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock will battle for floor time, while rookies Darius Johnson-Odom, Robert Sacre, and Greg Somogyi battle it out for a roster spot.
Is health a concern?
Early reports out of training camp say Dwight Howard is “looking good”. His movements have been good and he’s been dunking everything in sight. Howard plans to be 100% by the final preseason game. The player formerly known as Ron Artest reported to camp in shape, a contrast from last season. Kobe and Nash are clearly on the downside of the career, however neither of them will have to shoulder as much of the load as they’ve been used to due to the peripheral talent around them… which leads to the most important question.
What substance will these elements produce when combined together?
It’s no secret that Kobe Bryant loves to have the peel, Dwight Howard needs to get fed, and Nash likes to dribble around the court and provide the final pass (as a soccer style playmaker should). Coach Mike Brown and the front office hired Eddie Jordan, who will implement aspects of “The Princeton offense”, to the coaching staff. This offense in my opinion is perfect for this core group of players with various skill sets, with Pau Gasol and his passiveness being the main beneficiary. If you have no clue what the Princeton looks like, youtube videos of the Vlade, C-Webb, White Chocolate era Sacramento Kings are available.
Key matchups of the season:
Fri, Dec 7 @ Oklahoma City: 1st chance of revenge
Sun, Dec 16 @ Philadelphia: Kobe’s annual visit home plus potential* meeting with Bynum
Tue, Dec 25 vs NY Knicks: The Garden is always a big stage but now on Christmas
Thu, Jan 17 vs Miami: Measuring stick game vs the defending champs
Wed, Jan 30 @ Phoenix: Nash will surely return to a standing ovation
Thu, Feb 7 @ Boston: Do I need to explain?
Tue, Mar 5 @ Oklahoma City: Final regular season matchup against WC favorites
Sun, Apr 7 @ Clippers: Last regular season battle of LA
*I say potential because you never know with Bynum’s knees