By Marcus Thompson
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 at 12:28 pm in Uncategorized.
I hate to say it, but they really could. They probably won’t, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they did. Honestly, I never even thought about the Lakers as a serious contender until Baron’s agent, Todd Ramasar, made the case to me at a shootaround recently. Monday’s game only supported his stance. All they did was just enough to keep it close, then Kobe took over.
Now I’m an admitted Laker hater (Kobe lover, Laker hater — Is that legal?). They’re not like other one-man squads, such as Cleveland or Minnesota or Denver pre-Iverson. The Lakers have a pretty complete squad and Phil Jackson has everyone playing their part.
They’ve got shooters (they’re the second-best in the league in field goal percentage), they’ve got rebounders, they’ve got defenders, they’ve got energy guys, they’ve got a bench. Most important, they’ve got Kobe.
Bynum is a servicable big man at this point and only getting better. Turiaf and Evans are great hustle players off the bench, and Evans’ mid-range is money. Cook stretches the defense. Walton and a healthy Odom gives them versatility. Whatever they get from Kwame, Smush and Farmer is bonus.
All they have to do is stay close and give the ball to Kobe at the end. Not only is he spectacular, but he’s going to get all the calls. And his unselfish play has given his teammates confidence they don’t deserve. They’ll make teams pay now for doubling Kobe.
They’re just like Jordan’s Bulls. They have to tools to knock off Phoenix or Dallas in the West Finals. All they need is to keep a high seed, because they probably can’t get through Phoenix and Dallas. Once they get to the Finals, it’s wide open.
I hate to say it, but the Lakers are a good run away from taking it.