The Los Angeles Lakers have always been known for being the drama team in the NBA, but for the upcoming 2009-10 season they have managed to get on more gossip magazines than sports magazines. Soon after Lamar Odom resigned with L.A., he tied the knot with the black sheep Kardashian, Khloe, drawing a ton of paparazzi to the Laker locker room. If that weren’t crazy enough, the Lakers parted ways with the young Trevor Ariza and signed the problem child Ron Artest to replace him. Many people think distractions will prevent the Lakers from repeating as champs, but Kobe Bryant is destined to lead the franchise to its 16th title.
The acquisition of Artest makes the Lakers a much better team than it was a year ago. For the last couple of years the Lakers have been manhandled by bulky small forwards but know with Artest they can count on him to slow down players like LeBron James and Paul Pierce. Some people believe that Ron Ron will probably do something crazy and ruin the team’s chemistry. Don’t expect that to happen, as Artest is really excited to play with the purple and gold and seems determined to win his first title. Artest wanted to be a Laker so bad that two seasons ago, when the Celtics eliminated the Lakers in the Finals he went into the locker room where he found a naked Bryant and told him that he wanted to be his teammate and win a title with him (that must have been Bryant’s most awkward conversion ever).
The only bad thing Artest has done so far was introduce Odom to Kardashian. Let’s hope Khloe Kardashian doesn’t ruin Odom’s career like Kim Kardashian did to Reggie Bush’s.
The Lakers have a lot of size with seven-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Gasol is arguably the best scoring forward in the NBA but can be punked at times. Bynum had a great preseason and looks to be more of an offensive threat to take some load off the Spaniard. The question with Bynum is whether he can stay healthy.
The Lakers have the lengthy Odom as their sixth man and could provide a sparks when his team is down. Expect the versatile Odom to play point guard at times, giving the Lakers a huge size advantage over other guards.
The Black Mamba Bryant is the reason why the Lakers will win back-to-back titles. Bryant still has a lot to prove and needs to get more titles than His Airness Michael Jordan in order to be called the greatest ever. If you’re thinking Bryant’s legs will get tired in crunch time, know that he is in his 30’s, then you are surely mistaken. Now that Artest has the duties of guarding the best player each game, Bryant can put most of his focus on the offensive side and still keep fresh during the final quarter of each game.
The Lakers have a few teams standing in their way of another championship. The Spurs, Celtics and Cavaliers have all reloaded to take L.A.’s crown, but none of those teams have as many weapons as the Lakers. It’s not going to be an easy process for the Lakers to get back to the top of the mountain which makes the NBA a lot more interesting.