Tuesday , Nov , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Are ‘The Renegades’ key to Kobe and Lakers Three-peating?

Just one week into the season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has already coined a nickname for his team’s energetic bench: The Renegades.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Never argue with a Zen-Master, especially one with 11 championship rings.

Phil Jackson is right: the Los Angeles Lakers made three subtle moves this summer to solidify their bench, and counter the national headlines made by their eastern rivals.

First, they signed Steve Blake. He’s a feisty, intelligent table-setter, who’ll fill-in and eventually replace veteran Derek Fisher.

Second, they inked giant Theo Ratliff. He’s 7-2. And has a massive wingspan. When the tin-man, Andrew Bynum, is hurt, Ratliff can clog the middle against bigger posts.

Finally, Matt Barnes was brought-in. The former Mohawk can guard and play multiple positions; stretch opposing defenses with his range; and, most importantly, brings grit and toughness.

Blake, Ratliff, and Barnes fit perfectly next to Shannon Brown, a dynamic open-court player, and Sasha ‘The Machine’ Vujacic.

Of course, the piece de resistance is Lamar Odom, a versatile forward who is always a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Odom has taken his game to another level after spending his summer leading Team USA to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

So renegades is an interesting moniker for this group. Whatever the nickname, they’ll be a big part of the Lakers’ quest to three-peat.

–Oly Sandor.

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