Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jordan and Kobe? Pippen and Lebron?

In the 6 seasons that Michael Jordan was able to capture an NBA Championship and Finals MVP he was always known as "the best ever".  Now just because I am a Laker fan does not mean I'm trying to take anything away from the best Shooting-Guard to ever play the game (especially in his and this era; I'll throw Jerry West in there but he's 60's/70's and was sort of that combo guard type.

So I'll just state it quickly.  I believe Kobe is one of the best to ever play, key word "was", but I also don't think he's ever quite been on the level of the great Mike.  Or do the stats just make Jordan look so much better?  After some analysis and deep thought, it seems I've realized how much credit we as a collective fan-base of the NBA tend to give both Michael Jordan and then coach Phil Jackson. It seems that then Scottie Pippen is the subject discussed. I do believe we ought to at least look at it all objectively.

Kobe couldn't take mediocre teams all the way. Though it seems like he was either surrounded by great teammates or surrounded by young raw and awful talent, he was always going to get his team to the playoffs no matter what. Kobe needed Shaq to win his first 3 titles, and he needed Pau to win 2 more.  But again, I must enforce that it took the Bulls getting Pippen a couple years after Jordan was leading them, as they could get to the playoffs but just couldn't get past the Celtics or Pistons.

The argument goes both ways. While I'll say Shaq was an overall more effective piece and player to have down low for Kobe, he's never had the actual opportunity to run on a Laker team with a truly gifted Small-Forward that helps make his game at Shooting-Guard so much easier.  Pippen was always guarding the better perimeter player on opposing teams, because he was as good on defense as he was on offense...

Honestly, Pippen and Jordan in 1996, 97, and 98 when the Bulls won three titles in a row again, Pippen was 30, 31 and 32.  Jordan was 34 years old in 1998, the last championship he ever won.  So...

Dare I say that had Lebron signed with the Lakers this past off-season at the age of 29/30 (same as Pippen in 1996), we could make a rather fair comparison.  Well, actually, Lebron of this season (age 30) and Kobe from 2-3 years ago (he's 36 already), put those two players on the same team and it's as close to Pippen and MJ as you can get.

In the 6 championship seasons Pippen played with Jordan:
          -20.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, on 48%FG and lockdown D

That's really not far off from this years version of Lebron James, aside from Scottie never taking as many shot attempts, but Lebron is nearly identical to Pippen in that aspect.  This year Lebron is right around:
          -25.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks 48%FG and lockdown D

So..... why do we always compare Kobe to Michael yet never compare Lebron to Pippen?  Is it because Scottie was never in his prime leading a team by himself (aside for half a season where he led the Bulls into the playoffs with a pretty chopped up roster).  Lebron has never averaged as many steals as Pippen, nor blocks either.  Defensively they are both very adept, but I think Pippen might have the edge on D.  Since Lebron has the edge on offense, though I'm not sure where exactly, since both shoot similar FG% and both can pass, shoot threes, and both were/are mediocre FT shooters. Lebron's size and strength gives hi that edge with post moves, but seeing how Pippen rebounded at the same rate or better I'm not sure how big that difference is.

I know, I'll get a ton of crap for comparing Lebron ro Pippen.  But rather than think I'm trying to bring Lebron's stock down, I'm truly just trying to get people to realize just how dang good Scottie Pippen truly was. Never mind the stacked triangle offense teams that Michael had (as has Kobe).

Was Shaq that much better than Horace Grant and Bill Cartwright combined? Some of those Bulls teams were created perfectly, 10 deep with serious chemistry and complementing pieces as well as great shooters to stretch the floor. That Ron Harper, Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Longley starting 5 with Kukoc off the bench along with Steve Kerr and just good triangle pieces, it's not a whole lot different than the Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant Lakers.

Comparing it to the Lakers teams with Kobe and Shaq that won 3 titles in a row and while Shaq was amazing he was simply one player. Nobody else on their roster was ever an All-Star caliber player (while Ron Harper, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Dennis Rodman, and possibly Kukoc were all at least one or multiple time All-Stars). And of course they had all these great 3pt shooters that were just straight up 3 point champs always like Steve Kerr or Macy or Paxson.  Kobe and Shaq had a bunch of mediocre role players that were smart and could shoot 3's decent, defend well, and play smart.

If only the Lakers would of signed Ariza back and not chased after Artest/Meta World after their 1st championship with Pau Gasol in 2009. While he would never be a Scottie Pippen, he would of been the closest thing we would of ever seen to Kobe playing with a "Pippen".

I'm done now... I realized I should have simply compared Lebron and Wade with Pippen and Jordan, but it's always about the Phil Jackson, Michael and Kobe references.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers flying under the NBA radar?

While I write about all of basketball objectively, I know my home team Los Angeles Lakers are secretly flying under the NBA radar, especially in the Western Conference this season.  Sure, their plan is to build for next season (through trades, cap space and/or draft picks) all options for them this season, as well as making the playoffs... but "IF HEALTHY" is key there.  Boozer will be a good offensive teacher for Julius Randle who's probably been way overlooked by most top 10 picks because of his NBA ready body and skillset on both ends.  Having a veteran like Boozer can teach him some good stuff, as well as Hill, but of course Boozer defense is to not be copied....  

Randle could easily end up as the starting PF after 20 or so games and be a 16 point, 10 rebound, 3-5 assists, 1+steal, 1+block, solid all around player that does it all.  Just get that mid-range improved (as I am sure he is) and he will be a stud, possible ROTY.... he's been overlooked, I think he was the 3rd or 4th best player in that draft after the Jabari/Wiggins (Embid health risk).  With Nash maybe starting and playing 20 or so minutes a night (skipping back to backs maybe) the Lakers could be very effective.  Jeremy Lin was a sneaky good pickup as he is expiring and could potentially be a good fit in LA as the PG, though I see him as a perfect 6th man.

LAKERS DEPTH CHART FOR 2014-2015:

       R* = Rookie

PG: Steve Nash (PG) / Jeremy Lin (PG/SG) / Jordan Clarkson (R*PG/SG)
SG: Kobe Bryant (SG/SF) / Wayne Ellington (SG)
SF: Wes Johnson (SF/SG/PF) / Xavier Henry (SF/SG)
PF: Carlos Boozer (PF/C) / Julius Randle (R*PF/SF) / Ryan Kelly (PF/SF)
C:  Jordan Hill (C/PF) / Ed Davis (C/PF) / Robert Sacre (C)

Keith Appling (R*PG) and Ronnie Price (PG) are both in the Lakers training camp as well, and depending on who shows up they could be picked up (especially Tom Izzo product Appling who's a rookie with potential).  Jordan Hill is one of the most efficient and underrated players in the NBA (kind of like Faried 1-2 years ago).  He's one of the NBA's best offensive rebounders as well as top 5 in rebound percentage; if he can stay on the floor for 25-30+ minutes a night he can put up great double double numbers. With Ed Davis also on the team after being drafted to the Raptors and after a promising rookie year has sat behind the gluten of bigs on the Grizzlies (Zbo, Gasol, Koufous, Luer, etc). Ed Davis might have a promising year, as I see him and Hill basically splitting the Center minutes for now; defensively it's not amazing, but it's not awful, which is why I also believe Julius Randle will be starting sooner than we think.  Boozer put up mediocre numbers last season while being a defensive liability, and I think at this stage he's good for 20 minutes a night (depending on matchups), leaving Randle the door to play big minutes starting at PF (or SF possibly...) and playing the 3, 4 and 5 spots.

The bigs are actually better than average, and I truly think that's where the surprise will be to the NBA fans that have shoved the Lakers aside as if Kobe is the only player.  Now Kobe is vital to their success, hell, an 80% Kobe Bryant that puts up 20+ points and creates for others (or plays off the ball more, less possessions per game for him Isolating at least).  I think the offense will run well after 10-20 games, I have faith in Byron Scott and his coaching staff.  The bigs are the surprise though.

We all know Kobe is one of the best to play the game, so an 80% healthy Kobe, let alone a 90%-100% Kobe, would be a huge push for the Lakers.  Add the small possibility Nash plays 50 or so games at 15-25 minutes a night the chemistry with this team could really click.  The amount of combo guards and SG/SF's on this team is great.  After Kobe and Nash, two future 1st ballot HOF'ers, you have Nick Young who showed he can really score the ball off the bench (just needs to do it a tad more effectively; improve his shot selection and pass more) and averaged 17 or 18 points a game last season for the Lakers.  He'll end up possibly starting at SF (or Kobe, vica versa), or Wes Johnson (underrated glue guy SF; averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1steal, 1 block, upper 30%'s from 3pt land last season), while also being their closest thing to a lock down defender. Add in 23 year old 10 point per game Xavier Henry from last season and he should be an improved player off the bench (last season they really did start to build a bench playing so many different rotations).  There's also that Wayne Ellington character that is simply a beautiful shooter... put him next to Kobe, Nash, or Lin and he'll make some treys.

Talking about guards....

Jeremy Lin has improved in every season since joining the NBA and has lead man/main 3 core potential. Nash could mold him into a possibly star Point-Guard we've all envisioned he might be... now objectively last season he put up Per 36 minutes (as if he was starting and playing 36 minutes) 15.6 points, 5.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and a career high 45%FG, as well as a 82%FT+ and a 36% 3pt shot.  If he keeps improving his numbers and Nash takes him under his wing, I sense Lin could reach his potential of being that 18-20 point, 7-9 assist, 4+rebound, 2 steal, 48%FG and 40%3pt shot if things work out.... ultimately I expect something in between what his top potential is and what he was last year.  Just turned 26, his best years in the NBA are ahead of him. No reason he doesn't improve on last season as his trend is consistent.

I could go on and on, like I can with anything NBA hoops.  I just think the Lakers are just being slated to not make the playoffs.  If they don't get the "injury bug" then I don't see a reason why they can't hunt for a 5-8 seed in the West and go win 45-50 games.  The roster is so different from last year, yet adding a healthy Kobe and Nash, replacing Pau with rookies Julius Randle and what I saw from Jordan Clarkson in Summer League was very promising, a PG with size; claiming Carlos Boozer, while also re-signing Hill, Young, Xavier, Wes Johnson, Kelly, Sacre, while also managing to make sneaky good Free Agent signing's in Jeremy Lin (went from overrated Linsanity to underrated now), Ed Davis (young full of potential C/PF), Wayne Ellington (shooter keeps the floor stretched), and also have rookie Kieth Appling (potential PG look), veteran PG Ronnie Price, and young big-man Jeremy Tyler are all in training camp with potential to make the team.

The Lakers season is going to be a blast if none of the main pieces suffer severe injuries! (knock on wood... hah).  Nash might come back and help, he might just be a trade piece, but there is going to be great basketball games and the Lakers will be as active as ever in trying to make moves and has plenty of trade friendly contracts like Jordan Hill's 1 year / 8 mil contract as well as Nash and Lins dangling contracts.

Lakers, get er done!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

GameFLY FREE Month XBOX PS4 Wii BluRay 360 PS3

I keep getting brand new games, I love it so far, as you can rent Xbox One and PS4 games as well as 360 and PS3, Wii and WiiU, and now they also do BLU-RAYS and DVD rentals.  Having a 1 game package is where to start, but if you like to game and try different games (rather than risk buying a bad game) Gamefly is a great company, and with 2 discs out at a time I always have a game (or Blu Ray, though I stick with One games so far mostly).  

I had Sleeping Dogs in my Game Q on the site and happened to start my account the day it came out for sale.  I had it the next day from Gamefly in the mail, and could "Keep" it for $50 bucks ($60 most brand new games), which is a nice way to get your new games cheaper.  You also earn points and status with Gamefly the longer you are with them as well as the points accumulated from either "Keeping" rented games or "Buying" games from them at a 10%+ discount always.  

I've had it before, the rewards make up for the price, as you end up getting basically a free $50-60 game (credit) each year you are on Gamestop which in itself pays for the membership almost.  Can't go wrong.

Test it out! And if you click the link I get a month for free or some credit, so for those of you that might try it I'd appreciate it if you used the link on the page here.  Let's Game!




MY Xbox One/360 Gamertag:  MetaWORLDschizo


(I love sports games and first/third person shooters)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers Finally Flying Under the NBA Radar

The title of the post is something one could never of typed or said for maybe the entire history of the NBA. Even in their past down years they were always being overrated and talked about like they were a top
contender. Sure, they still are the Lakers and are still always a subject that matters, just like the Celtics, but this recent Clipper climb has taken LA by storm, and in the past 3 years the amount of fake Laker fans becoming Clipper fans is impossible to count. The Clippers deserve credit, trading for coach Doc Rivers, one of a few coaches that commands his team and get's respect (he's right behind Poppovich with coaches like Thibs or Vogul).

After a frustrating 2013-2014 season, one in which we saw Kobe play 6 total games only to go back to surgery and rehabbing his body for this upcoming season and the last 2 years of his new contract (and possibly last 2 years of his career). With Steve Nash also hurt most all the season and not playing at any level near the Nash of Phoenix, he also barely played for an 82 game season (those are 2 of your top 3 players), leaving Pau Gasol to play lone All-Star on the Lakers.  The fact Mike D'Antoni was in his 2nd year of coaching also didn't run well with Pau, who was asked to shoot more shots and buy into the D'Antoni style offense (and play no defense).

The only good result from last season (aside from landing in the Lottery and drafting 19 year old PF Kentucky stud Julius Randle who slipped a couple picks) was being able to develop young players and give them very valuable NBA level court time in the regular season, which helped them to build a bench for the future. The D'Antoni system is such a fast pace it allowed the Lakers to look at a ton of players and get a feel for their level of play, from rookie Ryan Kelly, 2nd year Rob Sacre who barely played his first season behind Dwight Howard, Wesley Johnson finding a role and trying to become a 3 and D specialist combo forward, and of course all the guards from last year put up career numbers, as all guards do with Mike D'Antoni as the coach.

Jodie Meeks went from an average role player on a mediocre Sixers team in the East to a solid starting SG on a bad Laker team in the West (harder competition).  He put up great numbers all year and was the most consistent Laker offensively outside of Pau Gasol and Nick Young, the other SG/SF that played 6th man and lead the Lakers in scoring.  As a result, Meeks went from a 1-2 million a year player to signing a $19 million dollar, 3 year contract for the Pistons, fully guaranteed.  I really liked Meeks, but at that price I would pass too.  Are GM's and scouts still not understanding that players always put up career numbers in the fast paced, all offense system D'Antoni runs?  Look at guys that had career years for him and signed huge deals somewhere else to not meet expectations:

    *Quentin Richardson, Joe Johnson, even Amare, Marion, and Nash were all Suns players that owe D'Antoni a ton.  Many signed max to near max deals, and only Joe Johnson ever really lived up to his hype in Atlanta for a few seasons. Other guys when he was with the Knicks like Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, Landry Fields, Danillo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and of course Jeremy Lin and the Linsanity 2 month period was incredible.  So Steve Nash, Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, and then Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, and Kendall Marshall all put up career numbers.  That's 5 PG's that were all average to solid rotation NBA players that he got to put up career numbers as the starting PG for a season on one of his teams.  The 6th, Steve Nash, was really damn good, then D'Antoni made him a MVP.  If an NBA GM doesn't realize that D'Antoni's system allows him to put any mediocre backup PG (like Duhon or Felton) and turn them into a 15+ppg, 8+apg starting PG has always happened, and it doesn't mean that player got any better necessarily.

Just two weeks ago the Lakers roster was looking extremely bleak. With Pau looking like he was leaving and us getting nothing in return, as well as Meeks, Farmar leaves LA and signs with that other LA team, Bazemore, and Kaman all jetting for other teams it seemed like the Clippers impact was changing the LA Lakers dynamics and power to lure Free Agents. Kobe signed for 2 more years at 24 million a year, which seems like a lot, but we forget he's Kobe Bryant and from a business standpoint makes the team $50+ million a year in ticket sales, jersey sales, merchandising, etc. Plus he's now had almost 1.5 years off, giving his body a true amount of time to heal.  Why everyone thinks he will come back and be some scrub is beyond me, as this is Kobe Bryant we are talking about. To think he's not coming back healthy and will be competent goes against everything he's shown us in his career, yet people around the league still enjoy bashing on the black mamba.

(*R is a rookie)

PG: Steve Nash - Kendall Marshall (Team Option)
SG: Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson (*R)
SF: Nick Young (a SG at heart; ideal 6th man)
PF: Julius Randle (*R), Ryan Kelly (Team Option)
C: Rob Sacre

All the other Lakers had either already signed with other teams or were still in negotiations. Looking at that lineup and roster, the Lakers were going to have a 2015 top 1-10 pick again.  Kendall Marshall may have impressed the laymen laymen fans last year, but he is a young PG that can't shoot but under D'Antoni put up impressive numbers (well his assists); I wanted Marshall gone, and just two days ago the Laker brass decided to not pick up his contract, waived him and he's now a Buck.  The kid needs to learn how to shoot, that's what everyone thinks (and he does), but they forget just how awful he is on defense too.  Good luck turning him into anything resembling yourself as a player Coach Jason Kidd of the Bucks....

The NBA Las Vegas Summer League was truly entertaining and competitive, the best I've ever seen (and I've gone to Vegas summer league 4-5 times the past decade). With such a deep draft class, the Lakers drafted All-Star in the making and NBA ready Power-Forward Julius Randle of Kentucky with the 7th pick, which I felt was a steal.  Then, as the Lakers were listening to my thoughts, they bought a 2nd round pick from the Wizards and drafted Jordan Clarkson, a 6'5'' combo guard out of Missouri who showed he's NBA ready in the Summer League (as did many other players in this talented, deep draft that will challenge the 2003 draft class).  Julius Randle was great, averaging 14+points and 5 rebounds, only playing limited minutes in 2 or 3 games as the Lakers know what he is and didn't want to risk any injury with their young starting PF.  I will say he surprised me a bit in Summer League, even in limited minutes, showing that he can really pass and handle the ball like a guard. He seems like a Lamar Odom type with more athleticism and a higher IQ; a fusion of Odom and Blake Griffin (somewhere in between there). Randle should have a great chance at the Rookie of the Year race as he will start at PF and get at least 30 minutes a game.

Vegas Summer League you don't want to get too excited, but a majority of the time it's pretty accurate and shows if a player is NBA rotation ready or a prospect or a 2nd rounder that you send overseas.  Clarkson showed he can score, pass, play defense, is extremely athletic, and since he came out after his junior year he is mature and physically strong already.  Clarkson is a 3pt shot away from being a good caliber backup PG or SG; that's how deep this draft class was.  He averaged right around 17ppg, 6rpg, 3-4apg, 1.6spg, and shot well in the 4-5 Summer League games; he also showed a savvy skillset that he can run the offense and control pace, as well as having a nose for getting to the rim and getting fouled... and he makes his free-throws. There were many 2nd round steals, and he was just another one of them.

Then, all the sudden the Lakers got active the past 3 days, basically filling out the roster.....

*SG/SF Nick Young re-signed for 4 years, $20 million (17.7 Ppg last season)

*C/PF Jordan Hill re-signed to a 2 year, $18 million deal (Career high numbers; Team Option Year 2)

*SG/SF Xavier Henry re-signed to a 1 year, $1 million deal (10 ppg last year; 22 years old)

*SF/PF Wes Johnson re-signed to a 1 year, $1 million deal (9+ppg, 5rpg, 1.3spg, 1.3bpg last year)

*PF/SF Ryan Kelly re-signed to a 2 year, $2 million deal (solid rookie season last year; stretch 4)

*C/PF Ed Davis signs a 2 year, $2 million deal (young big man from Memphis; PER 15.6)

*Lakers win the amnesty bid on PF/C Carlos Boozer for $3.25 million, 1 year left

*Lakers complete trade with Houston for young PG/SG Jeremy Lin and their 2015 1st Round Pick
     (Houston was clearing cap space ridding of solid players Asik and Lin both overpaid expirings)

So not only are the Lakers now a solid 12 man team, with some solid rookies and underrated players that haven't shown what they can do yet, along with Kobe coming back near fullly healthy, the Lakers also made sure to keep their cap space open for the next summer (and probably 2016 summer of Durant and others as well).  The Lakers did an amazing job, all things considering, putting a competitive group out on the floor and maintaining cap flexibility for next summer's free agency of Love, Aldridge, Rondo, and other studs.  After Melo signed with NY and Pau left, things looked bleak... just look at that rotation/lineup I posted at the top part of this post.

Now, after all that action the past week, signing of underrated players like new age Centers Ed Davis and Jordan Hill (PF's of old NBA), keeping young Wes Johnson who had a career year (just needs some better consistency; but was the only defensive stopper on the squad), keeping the young potential of Xavier Henry and rookie Ryan Kelly, making the perfect 3.25 mil bid on veteran Carlos Boozer to backup and teach Randle some things (though Randle is already better than Boozer of last season), and being able to actually upgrade and get a legit PG in Jeremy Lin who not only fits the team (financially expiring as well as a taller, bigger PG to put next to Kobe and play some Defense), as well as get another first round Pick for 2015 by taking on Lin's deal..... the Lakers truly went under the radar this summer and I love how people think they are bottom 10 NBA team bound this upcoming season.
__________________________________________________________________



LA Lakers Depth Chart 2014-2015 Season:

PG: Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash
SG: Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Clarkson
SF: Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry
PF: Julius Randle, Carlos Boozer, Ryan Kelly
C:  Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Rob Sacre

*Versatility is great. Kobe, Swaggy P aka Nick Young and Xavier are all big enough to play SF at any time; Randle, Boozer, Hill, and Davis can all play PF and C effectively (well Boozer not so much; and Randle wait and see, he could even play some SF minutes possibly).  Wes Johnson and Kelly are both combo forwards (SF or PF) that stretch the floor and bring different things to the table like defense (Wes) or passing (Kelly). Jeremy Lin is a big Point that can also play off the ball at SG, which would be great if Nash played or we sign a small PG. Then of course Jordan Clarkson, the rookie, can guard and play PG, SG, and SF; the team is full of versatile players and when/if Byron Scott is elected coach he will be able to tinker around with so many lineup combinations.

*While Davis has been a PF for his first few NBA years, with a no step vertical over 9 feet and great athleticism and size, he's almost identical to Jordan Hill who has been a Center for a couple years now.  This NBA that exists has become so small, and while I think both Hill and Davis can play Center, I'm still skeptical and would love to see an Emeka Okafor type signing to our team.  At least Sacre is a nice 7 foot wide body that has proven has can be productive as a 10-18 minute backup Center.

Lastly, short term memory loss seems to be a huge aspect of NBA fans. Kobe Bryant's had nearly 1.5 years of rehabbing and getting healthy (aside from those 6 games that he actually did alright in at 70% health), and was a 25 point, 5 assist, 5 rebound, 1.5 steal, 45%FG stud the last time he was healthy on the court.  Why people assume he's coming back this season to be some 16 Ppg 40%FG old man is beyond me... and I'm not just a Laker homer.  Everything Kobe's done in his career gives us no reason to expect him to be less than a 20/4/4 type of player who is mad clutch and helps his team win.  With a new set of talent around him this year it will be quite interesting, but make no mistake, as long as the Black Mamba is playing for the Lakers we have a fighting chance for the playoffs. Kobe will retire before he is some 16ppg 40% chucker, and to think he has declined that much while rehabbing to full health for 1.5 years is insane (and based on a 6 game sample 30 game into last season playing at 70% health maybe lower).

His name is Kobe Bryant, remember that.  With another shot creator and ball handler in Jeremy Lin (Nash too if healthy), and another in Nick Young who they should play as 6th man, starting Wes Johnson at Small Forward who was really starting to come on as that glue guy and 3 and D guy (sort of like they did with Ariza). Put Wes next to Lin and Kobe and Randle and Hill and I bet he is more consistent with better open shots from three; compared to playing with Marshall, Swaggy P, Gasol and Kaman or Hill at Center (awful spacing as a team).

This 2014-2015 NBA season should be really fun for Laker fans, and while I will agree the Clippers are better on paper right now (and have a better coach, PG, and legit Center in DJ), all the Clipper vs Laker games will be much more competitive and exciting than most think.  You put this roster in the East and they are easily guaranteed a playoff spot... and depending on how good Randle really is in his first season the Lakers could do just that in the West as a 6-8 playoff team.  The potential is there, it's all about them playing together and building chemistry, as each player will get better with each game for 3/4 the player on this young roster, and Kobe has to last 70 regular season games (with some game DNP rests) at a high level.

Here we come NBA!  Kobe for 24ppg, 6apg, 4rpg, Lin for 16ppg, 6apg, 2spg, and Randle for 16ppg, 10rpg, 4apg, and 1+steal and block per game!  Just wait NBA fans, just wait! Those are just stat guestimates for me to look back on in the future, but this team is going .500 or better barring injury!

The Mamba ain't done yet!