Today is opening day for the Lakers. I'm here to give my prediction for the season. They are a very interesting team that may be as bad as most of the experts say or they may end up surprising a lot of people.
Count me in the group that thinks the Lakers will shock a lot of people. I'm predicting 48 wins, and if things go well maybe more.
The Lakers won 34 games last year. Many think it will be just as bad. They look at the Lakers, see that they lost two of their starters, and got back an unproven player, and think it can only get worse. I think they are wrong. Here is why.
Kobe Bryant: I predict a monster year for Kobe, if only because he has such a huge ego and needs to prove to everybody that he is the best player on the planet. There is little arguing that he is a top 5 player in the NBA. It's hard to see how such a talented player can have two horrendous years back to back.
Lamar Odom: His play will make or break the Lakers. He is returning to his more natural position of SF where I believe he will take his game to another level. He also will have primary ball-handling duties which will relieve the pressure off Kobe and allow Kobe to do what he does best, score.
Phil Jackson: Look, can anybody be worse than Rudy Tomjanovich? The guys idea of an offense is run down the floor and chuck up a three as fast as you can. Then, he quits half way through the season. But the Lakers didn't just get anybody, they got the best coach of all time. Phil brings with him 9 championships ring, you better believe he wants the 10th and you better believe he wants to prove to people that he didn't just ride MJ and Shaq's coattails. Phil brings with him the triangle offense which I believe is the perfect fit for this team. It will allow palyers to do what they do best and limit what they can do wrong.
Kwame Brown: This guy is a physical beast. Fast, agile, strong, tall, he has the complete physical package. Problem is he never has been able to be consistent. He had a horrible time under the thumb of MJ and I believe he just needed a change of scenery. The guy has all the tools, and Phil Jackson is just the man to bring him out.
Defense: The Lakers scored last year. The problem was they couldn't stop anybody. This is where the departure of Chucky "the matador" Atkins will be of biggest benefit. The Lakers may miss his scoring ability, but they won't miss all the PGs running wild in the lane. Call it addition by subtraction.
The Bench: Easily the weakest part of the Lakers team. But I think they will surprise a lot of people if only because there are a lot of guys on the last year of their deals. They will play hard if only to get another pay day. Devean George is pivotal off the but but so is Aaron McKie and Brian Cook. It doesn't speak well for your team if you are going to depend on these guys off the bench, but I think there will be some surprises.
Add it all up, and I think there are easily 14 more wins in this team. I just hope the Lakers make me a smart man.