The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). In this article I'm going to preview the Lakers, who have lost a little of their mojo but are still going to be a very good basketball team capable of winning 45+ games.
Lost: Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom, a Stare-down with David Stern, Kobe's faith in Management, Vanessa Bryant
Added: Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Ater Majok, (all rookies), Jason Kapono, Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy
|Metta World Peace||82||2413||.101||13.9||5.3||3.5||0.7||2.5||1.8||3.6|
Per48 Comparison of raw stats
At first my instinct was like "They lost Odom for Nothing! Kobe's getting older! And he's pissed! Bynum's missing 5 games before his annual injury happens. The Lakers are done!"
Then I looked at the roster. Here's something you probably don't believe if you are new to wins produced: Josh McRoberts is really good. And, as it happens, Troy Murphy was always a great player until last year (.212 WP48 in 2009-10), when he was recovering from injury. He's a great rebounder and very efficient scorer. Yes, I know he's not a quick defender but his rebounding and shooting make up for it. The Lakers have managed to cheaply cover for the loss of Odom. The big issue for the Lakers will be the point guard position, where the 73-year old Derek Fisher will get lots of minutes, and whether or not Brown will wisely allocate minutes. My suspicion is that Brown won't do a good job here; Matt Barnes getting a DNP-CD in the first decision certainly reeks of incompetence.
And then, of course, there are injuries. Kobe's torn a tendon in is shooting hand; that can't be good. And Bynum...well, every time Bynum jumps Lakers fans hold their breath, because he seems to come down badly on knees and ankles a lot.
If there are no injuries, they will fight tooth-and-nail with the Clippers for the #1 spot in the Pacific. I gave the edge to the Clippers because I expect the sophomore improvement from the already-great Griffin, and because I think Reggie Evans was a fantastic pick up for them that puts them over the top. If Bynum goes down, all bets are off; they'll struggle to get homecourt advantage in the playoffs if that happens.