What’s that? It can’t possibly be a bee; I’m sitting in my house watching the Lakers play the Phoenix Suns. So far so good Lakers, I’m impressed.
But what the heck is that buzz? Oh, I get it now; I can’t believe it almost slipped my mind.
It’s the sound coming from the Laker bench. Oh Stu Lantz what a clever name; I wish I had thought of that myself.
The new Los Angeles Lakers bench for the 2010-11 season is generating incredible excitement due to its significant improvement.
This bench will be the key for the Lakers if they want to win a third straight NBA championship. Last year’s bench was okay at times, but there were instances when Kobe Bryant and company had to stay on the floor too long due to reserve incompetence.
There were only two players that were significant to the title runs the last two years: Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown.
This year is very different. It’s a bench that’s being compared to the great ones like those that included great Lakers Michael Cooper, Michael Thompson, Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott.
So who are the Killer B’s exactly? Well they’re Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes and Steve Blake.
Get to know these guys well because they will lead the Lakers to the top once again.
Brown, Barnes and Blake average about 25 points per game, but that’s minimal to the overall contribution. Points are always welcomed, but it’s the intangibles that make them great.
Both Brown and Barnes are averaging about nine points a game or more, with Blake scoring 6.4 points.
The same goes for Brown. He has improved his shooting to a level never quite reached before. His average of 10.3 points a game is the highest of his career and his career field goal percentage is seven points higher than his career percentage. His shooting ability has finally found a balance to his exceptional athleticism.
Barnes is a formidable perimeter defender who can shoot, rebound and pass. The duo he creates with Ron Artest, the player he substitutes, is about as defensive-minded as can be. Barnes is energetic and displays the type of intensity that can get in other players’ minds. The intensity is what led to the feud he had with Bryant in a regular season game back in March, which is the reason Bryant wanted him in a Laker uniform.
Blake is a pass-first guard who is not afraid to shoot the deciding shot. Great example on opening day against the Rockets, Bryant gave up a critical shot and passed to Blake who buried the three-pointer.
All three of them are defenders who can shoot and that’s a dangerous thing.
Bryant used to play close to 40 minutes each night and he’s been doing that for almost a decade. Bryant needs all the rest he can get and with such a talented bench, he can stay seated and rest all he wants.
The Laker bench is only going to get better with the return of center Andrew Bynum, which will push Odom out of the starting lineup.
These “B’s” will be the X-factor against competition from all sides. They won’t be perfect but their grasp of the Laker playbook is tight.
These “B’s” will contribute the honey and the Lakers will hoist championship No. 17.