The Lakers Have That Look
The Lakers let us down last June. We had the stage set for an all-time great NBA Finals, but only one team lived up to the hype, in what Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe appropriately called the "first six-game sweep" in NBA history, the Celtics embarassed the Lakers. Los Angeles never came close to showing the hunger and desire of Boston, which is why they never really had a chance to take home the NBA title last season.
The entire off-season was spent calling the Lakers "soft" and questioning Kobe Bryant, who was upstaged by Paul Pierce throughout the duration of the series. Los Angeles had plenty of talent on paper but how would they respond to the whipping they took in front of the entire country at the hands of the Celtics.
After a 6-0 start, the Lakers have that look of a team on a mission. Sure, they looked great on paper heading into the season, yet it is a different thing to bring that level of production on to the basketball court. Kobe Bryant is again playing like the league MVP. You have to figure somebody with Kobe’s personality couldn’t be any more motivated after last season. He has a loaded roster around him that has improved from last year’s team in terms of depth and athleticism. If he can’t lead this team to title, when is it going to happen?
We knew Andrew Bynum was coming back, but we forgot what a difference it makes for the Lakers to have a true center in the middle, allowing Pau Gasol to move back to his natural power forward position. Bynum’s numbers aren’t staggering right now but he is a major factor defense and is slowly seeing his offensive game round back into form.
The Lakers already had a great bench last season, but with Lamar Odom now serving as a 6th man they are a different level. Trevor Ariza has also been a key addition, after missing most of last year with an injury. He is giving them alot more than Luke Walton did last year and provides a defensive mindset off the bench.
The Lakers have a big match-up tonight against the New Orleans Hornets, and yes they are going to eventually lose a game. However, right now they look like the class of the NBA and a team that has the hunger to roll through the Western Conference and get another shot at the title.