October 27, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers 2010-2011 Season Preview

The 2010-2011 NBA season is here and I'm also out of my off-season blogging break! :)

The Los Angeles Lakers are fresh off their second championship but they're far from fresh with the slew of issues they are facing this season. Here are the key factors that I think will be facing the Lakers in this new season, with the theme "Don't underestimate..."
  • Don't underestimate Matt Barnes' short fuse - Is it me or Matt Barnes presents a bigger threat to derail the Lakers' chemistry this season compared to Ron Artest last year? Barnes is cut from the Rick Fox cloth of the 2000's but I think he could take the enforcer role a bit too far as the season wears on. I see him leading the league in technical fouls.
  • Don't underestimate Kobe Bryant's knee rehab - One of the reasons most people think Kobe Bryant won't win this year's MVP plum is his bum right knee. We've seen how it can affect his play, especially in the moments he struggled against the Celtics in the 2010 Finals. I see him bouncing back, but don't hold your breath. I see him averaging 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal per game.
  • Don't underestimate Steve Blake - New acquisition Steve Blake is the designated first point guard off the bench but I see him eating up a few starter moments from Derek Fisher in the games before the All-Star break. I think Phil Jackson will rest Fisher and keep him fresh for the late season and the deep playoff run.
  • Don't underestimate the Western Conference - A lot of folks see the Lakers trampling over the Western Conference, but there are still some threats. Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder is the current up and coming team, while the Utah Jazz is a rejuvenated squad with Al Jefferson manning the middle and Deron Williams running the show. The dark horse is the aging San Antonio Spurs, who are banking on a healthier and more experienced team.
  • Don't underestimate the heart of the champion - Las Vegas oddsmakers are tabbing the new look Miami Heat to win it all this season. With LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, this team is a virtual All-Star squad. This is the type of lineup you make up in NBA 2K11. But the Lakers have the rings and the resolve to get it done. Let's see if heart will trump pure talent.
On a final note, I do see the Lakers winning the Western Conference, with the following seedings:
  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Utah Jazz
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. San Antonio Spurs
  6. Denver Nuggets
  7. Houston Rockets
  8. Memphis Grizzlies

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