Blazersedge 2008-09 NBA Season Preview: The L*kers

LOS ANGELES L*KERS

Record:  57-25, 1st Pacific Division, 1st in Western Conference, Western Conference Champions

 

Statistical Comparisons

 

Notable:

4th in the league in scoring (108.6 ppg)

3rd in ppg differential (+7.3 ppg)

3rd in field goal % 

4th (tie) in free throw attempts per game

4th in assists

5th in blocks

 

Others:

19th in opponent scoring (101.3 ppg)

6th in opponent field goal %

6th in three-point % 

10th in free throw percentage

6th in steals

11th in turnovers

10th in opponent turnovers

Average offensive rebounding team

Good defensive rebounding team

 

Movement

 

Significant Additions:  Sun Yue

Significant Subtractions:  Ronny Turiaf

 

Roster

 

Coach:  Phil Jackson

 

Key Players

PG:  Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher, Sun Yue

SG:  Kobe Bryant, Sasha Vujacic, Coby Karl

SF:  Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza

PF:  Pau Gasol, Vladimir Radmanovic

C:  Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm

 

Comments

 

A conversation with my wife:

 

Me:  Honey, do you think I could get away with bending the rules about the blog being a non-swearing site just for one post?

 

Wifey:  No.  Why?

 

Me:  It’s a L*kers preview.

 

Wifey:  Ah…that’s the team you don’t like, huh?

 

Me:  Saying I don’t like the L*kers is like saying your mom is a little annoying.

 

Wifey:  Pardon?

 

Me:  I said, “Saying I don’t like the L*kers is like saying you’re just slightly cute.”

 

Wifey:  Oh, I see.  But you better stick to your principles anyway, otherwise they aren’t worth much.

 

Me:  Yes, but I have two principles warring here.

 

Wifey:  How so?

 

Me:  I want the blog to be mostly family friendly and not unnecessarily jarring but on the other hand there are certain sights, sounds, and smells which apply to that team which just can’t be conveyed through polite language.

 

Wifey:  Just use substitutes.

 

Me:  Substitutes?

 

Wifey:  Yeah, like “fiddlesticks”.

 

Me:  Hmmm… “The L*kers are arrogant fiddlesticks and they might have the fiddlesticking team to back it up right now but in a couple of fiddlesticking years they can kiss their fiddlesticks goodbye and if they don’t like it they can fiddlestick my fiddlestick.”

 

Wifey:  Don’t use the same one all the time, moron.  Diversify!

 

Me:  Diversify?

 

Wifey:  The key to all good writing.

 

Me:  The latest issue of Cosmopolitan also says it’s the key to happiness in the bedroom, you know.

 

Wifey:  How do you know that?

 

Me:  Uh…I just saw the cover on the newsstand at the supermarket while buying manly things like pepper steak and aftershave.

 

Wifey:  What page?

 

Me:  168, right after the…uhhhhh…I mean, I don’t know!

 

Wifey:  Uh huh.  Just get back to blogging.

 

OK…so it’s time to write about the L*kers, who managed to be the petunia-sniffing Western Conference Champs last year.  As alien as it is to a Blazer fan’s nature, you have to give the zebra-kissers credit.  One look down the stat recap shows that they’re pretty much weakness-free.  You can count on two fingers the number of teams so unscathed.  The addition of Pau Gasol shored up their entire lineup, giving them height, talent, and reasonable offensive firepower across their whole pudding-imbibing starting lineup.  Kobe artichoke-hearted Bryant doesn’t need much daylight to play at a League MVP level, just someone to take the pressure off a little.  The L*kers have that and more.

 

It’s popular to bag on the team that finished second in the NBA Finals even more than you bag on, say, the team that finished 29th overall in the league.  The difference is you see the failure of that runner-up written across the heavens, whereas you probably haven’t seen a game featuring the 29th team since back in ought-two.  The widespread criticism of the biscuit-greasing L*kers after the Finals was their lack of toughness.  I hasten to point out this was against one team which had a season for the ages.  The other 28 teams in the league still better worry about the birch-flaming L*kers smackdown.  They’re not likely to find many unfavorable matchups, West or East.  People have tried to beat Kobe Bryant down for a decade.  It has yet to work.

 

The big L*ker hope for absolute dominance is the return of young Andrew Bynum, who before he went down with injury managed to put together an incredibly promising month.  The good news for the boar-plowing L*kers is that his size, athleticism, and drive are for real.  He has a legit chance to become a very good center.  The bad news is that the hamster-defiling L*ker fans are dreaming of an all-world center, which may not be in the cards yet.  Bynum’s signature outings came against the likes of GoldenState, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Indiana, and Philadelphia, most of which have defensive problems, especially at center.  The good news again is that the L*kers don’t really need an all-world center at this point.  Someone to watch the middle a little, score in the post enough to keep defenses honest, and grab defensive rebounds like candy will do nicely.  Bynum should be able to manage that.

 

With no significant turnover, a returning man in the middle, and only one of their challengers in the West getting markedly better you have to imagine the L*kers will be just as successful this year as they were last year.  The only bar would be another major injury, as their toad-licking bench is suitable for reserve duty but short on starting replacement talent.  Getting through the landmine-filled Western Conference playoffs may be another story.  In the regular season, though, get used to a ton of L*ker victories. 

 

Fudgesicles.

 

Read more about the L*kers at ForumBlueandGold.com.

 

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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