8.24.2009

The Emperor's New Clothes

Lakers 2009-10 Roster

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
16 Pau Gasol F-C 7-0 250 07/06/1980 Spain 8
37 Ron Artest F 6-7 260 11/13/1979 St. John's 10
24 Kobe Bryant G 6-6 205 08/23/1978 Lower Merion HS (PA) 13
17 Andrew Bynum C 7-0 285 10/27/1987 St. Joseph HS (NJ) 4
2 Derek Fisher G 6-1 210 08/09/1974 Arkansas-Little Rock 13

BENCH

7 Lamar Odom F 6-10 230 11/06/1979 Rhode Island 10
18 Sasha Vujacic G 6-7 205 03/08/1984 Slovenia 5
4 Luke Walton F 6-8 235 03/28/1980 Arizona 6
5 Jordan Farmar G 6-2 180 11/30/1986 UCLA 3
12 Shannon Brown G 6-4 211 11/29/1985 Michigan State 3
21 Josh Powell F-C 6-9 240 01/25/1983 North Carolina State 4
.. Chin Elonu C 6-10 235 03/11/1987 Texas A&M R
28 Didier Mbenga C 7-0 255 12/30/1980 Congo 5
6 Adam Morrison F 6-8 205 07/19/1984 Gonzaga 2
Before the 2008 NBA Finals, my brother the Laker fan was trying to convince me that Luke Walton was an impactful player off the bench for the Lakers, someone comparable to PJ Brown and Leon Powe for the Celtics. Six games later not too many people agreed with him. Fourteen months later, I see that Lakers fans are now lumping together the likes of Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, Adam Morrison, and former Laker Vlads Radmanowhatsit, describing them as unproductive or (worse) counterproductive reserves. Whoa. That's a steep decline in esteem for the Laker bench. And when I look at the Laker bench, I see Lamar Odom ... and ...what else exactly?

Equally of interest is the savagery that has been heaped on Andrew Bynum this summer by, of all people, Lakers' fans themselves. "Mediocre," "overrated," and "albatross of a contract" are some of the milder things I've read about young Drew. And while we are looking at the Faker starters, how exactly did the Orlando Magic allow a 34-year-old shooting guard starting at the point for the Lakers to become a deciding factor in the 2009 NBA Finals when no one remembers a thing he did the previous June?

Which brings me to the point of this post:

If the Lakers' bench is really just Lamar Odom and a bunch of spare parts and the starting unit is basically just Gasol, Kobe and pray for a third contributor, well, what's all the fuss?

2 comments:

FLCeltsFan said...

And don't forget that they now have the very volatile Ron Artest on the team. That could mean spontaneous combustion.

Ryan said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Gasol somewhat injury prone during his Memphis years? No one seems to mention this but he's long overdue. Maybe the number of games through two straight seasons to the finals were offset by the 50% effort he gave pouting during his final season with the Grizzlies.

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