7.03.2008

Lakers Need Another Gasol-Like Theft

--LA Times

A couple of the Lakers' bench players, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza, figure to get better, although it takes a fanciful imagination to envision the energetic Ronny Turiaf, who can't shoot, rebound or avoid fouls, taking a similar path.

Certainly, the Lakers will once again be quite entertaining next season - any team with Kobe Bryant on it will be. But even if everything goes well for the purple, Mitch Kupchak will need to pull off another Pau Gasol-like trade to close the gap with the vastly superior Celtics.

Maybe Andrew Bynum is on the threshold of becoming something special, as I'm sure Kupchak - as well as all the downcast Laker loyalists - are now passionately desiring.

But, even if the Lakers are stronger, they might not again win 57 regular season games, since they no longer will be sneaking up on unsuspecting opponents.

They also might face some psychic woes, at least in the season's early stages when they must shake off what figures to be a lingering emotional hangover from having been the embarrassing victims of the most humiliating loss in NBA Finals history.

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