I was reading an LA Times article (mistake #1) about the LA Lakers (mistake #2), and I found myself clicking on the comments section (yup, mistake #3). The comments were devoted exclusively to KG and Sheed. I'll be honest, they weren't totally off base. "Hey Celtics fans, I got news for you. This isn't 2004. Rasheed Wallace is 35-years-old and coming off a terrible playoff performance!" "No Way KG makes it through the whole season healthy."
I have no one to blame for my melancholy but myself. I'll own up. Still, what's the old adage about glass houses? A brief look at the Lakers' playoff statistics above and the first thing that strikes me about what the media calls the "deep Laker bench" is really, a lack thereof. Lamar Odom had a good playoff run. I'll give them that. But he was playing 32 MPG. Andrew Bynum was playing 17 MPG. In reality, then, Odom was the starter, which makes Bynum either a bad reserve or a worse starter. You could argue that Bynum will be healthy next year and back to his dominant self.
But my response is against whom will he be dominant? If you look at his two spurts of good numbers over the last two years, they came primarily against teams without a center. Those teams typically don't exist in the playoffs, and, even if they do, Bynum's style of play often runs counter to the style the Lakers choose to deploy in big games. Hence the reason he plays limited minutes against good teams.
Next up is Derek Fisher. The guy is 35 years old. Yes, he hit some big shots. But overall, his FG% was .394 and his 3p% was .284. This is awful, and he's the Lakers' starting point guard. And as the starting point guard, he averaged a measly 2.2 APG. Finally, we have Trevor Ariza. He may have been the third best player on the Lakers during the playoffs, particularly in the Finals. He shot an impressive .476 from three and averaged a steal and a half per game. He's gone. And loony tune Ron Artest is his replacement.
Bottom line, the Lakers come down to the Kobe and Gasol show. Yes, Kobe is good, and teamed with Bryant, Gasol is very good. But I'm not sure that's enough. I see this team like the 1975 Golden State Warriors, which was a two man show of Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes. It took a lot of things to fall into place to make 1975 Warriors champions, just as it did last year's Lakers, including Garnett's knee injury, Orlando's improbable victory over Cleveland, and a healthy 100+ games from Byrant and Gasol.
So while the Celtics certainly have their question marks, Lakers fans better enjoy the championship while they can, because barring another Gasol-for-Kwame Brown deal, the Lakers will struggle to repeat.