I've just seen a few quarters of play from the lakers, but I think they're a better team than last year and should win another ring.
Yes. I think the 2010-2011 Lakers are better than they have been in their recent back-to-back championships. I do not think it matters much what this team will do during the regular season. This team has one goal, and that is to complete the 3-peat. For the most part, they addressed their needs of added depth off the bench, 3-point shooting, and even toughness in the offseason when they acquired Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. I think those two complement the team quite well. Reserve Shannon Brown also looks like one of the most-improved players in the whole league thus far. Pau Gasol is looking better than he ever has and is in the prime of his career. He is the best offensive big man in the game. Lamar Odom is coming into the season in the best shape he has been in perhaps ever. Ron Artest is also another year into the Laker system and looks more comfortable than he did throughout much of last season. Andrew Bynum has not played yet this season, but I think they are going to take it easy on him this season for the sole purpose of having him primed for the playoffs. He has never been healthy during any of their last 3 NBA Finals runs. Just imagine what they can do in terms of size mismatches on the front-line if he is at 100% during the playoffs. Derek Fisher is arguably one of the most clutch performers the NBA has seen in the playoffs. Then of course, there is Kobe Bryant, who may have some high mileage on his odometer and may face some injuries throughout the regular season, but when the playoffs come around he will be ready to go and be the assassin he is. All together, this team complements one another like a championship team needs to do. The core of the team has played together for long enough to have built up the best team chemistry in the NBA. That always pays huge dividends come playoff time. With all that said, I think this is the best Laker team compared to their most recent championship teams.
Does all of this mean they will win the NBA title? No, although it must make them the favorites. The fact of the matter is that Boston is also better than they have been. They also have the deep bench and almost unparalleled team chemistry and defense. They beat the Lakers for the title 3 years ago and took them to the thrilling 7th game last season before falling short. That proves there is not a big gap between those teams at all. Also, although I do not think they will be quite ready yet this season, there is also the Miami Heat with Wade, LeBron, and Bosh to possibly contend with. I think the elite teams in the NBA are all for the most part better than they were in the last few seasons. I still give the championship edge ultimately to the Lakers, with the Celtics coming in a close second, but we'll see how it all unfolds. I would not read too much into this regular season though.
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