(Side note: does the splash intro to the Lakers page feel a little over-the-top to anyone else?)
I got skipped over when they were passing around the Houston Rockets kool-aid at the NBA dorks convention, and last night’s near implosion against the Lake Show didn’t help. The Lakers, however, looked surprisingly good, and their comeback shows that when you have Kobe Bryant you at least have the chance to be in a lot of ball games. But this team can only be as good as its big guys.
Ronny Turiaf—Your starting power forward with Odom out. He’s reasonably solid, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot of upside here. 10, 5, and 400 hyper-exaggerated facial emotions is the best case scenario.
Kwame Brown—Has finally started to look like a NBA center. I think he’ll be a useful 12-8 guy this year.
Andrew Bynum—Supposedly Bynum is the deal-breaker keeping Jermaine O’Neal from joining the Lake Show. I guess I’m just not seeing why he’s so valuable (aside from his youth.) His skills are developing, but he’s half the player of, say, Al Jefferson. Maybe I’ll look back eventually and feel like an idiot, but I don’t just think he’ll be a megastar in the league. And even if he’s an All-Star-type guy in three or four years, what does that matter if Kobe is killing you from Brooklyn at that point anyway? Kobe-level talents are exceptionally rare (even rarer than all-star centers. Believe that.)
The Lakers are in a tough spot, so allow me to do some uninformed speculation:
They need to sell tickets. They can’t completely blow things up. They don’t want to trade the best player in the league (again) and then watch him win a title (again.)
Washington has a good core, they can do fine in the East right now, they’d need too much to give up Arenas. Chicago has a great, very young core, they shouldn’t make a move yet. Cube doesn’t want to deal Dirk (for reasons that escape me.) I think you have to take your shot with Jermaine.
Would you want to face Kobe and Jermaine in the first round of the playoffs? I don’t think so. And then maybe you could get a point guard somewhere next year and really do some damage.