Why The Los Angeles Lakers Will Three-Peat
The dust has settled and Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have won back to back titles in a grueling series against the Boston Celtics. The cleanup crew may not be done picking up all the celebratory debris that littered the streets of L.A. after the parade on Monday, but I’m going to call this now:
The Los Angeles Lakers Will Win The NBA Championship Again In 2011.
I know it is very premature to make such a statement. I also know that Phil Jackson hasn’t said whether or not he’s coming back to coach. Free agency won’t begin until July 1st and the NBA Draft hasn’t taken place, but I’m pretty confident in my assertion. And the reasoning isn’t so much about the Lakers than it is about the rest of the NBA.
The 2010 off-season is one that could completely overhaul the entire league. With a deep pool of free agents and a solid draft featuring two players who can become game changers, everything will look different when the 2010-2011 season gets underway this fall. While the league goes free agent and trade crazy, the Lakers will more than likely remain the same. This is why they will win. Allow me to further elaborate.
Obviously, the biggest lynchpin in the 2010 off-season is the future of LeBron James. If he decides to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, a spree will begin as teams jockey to land some of the other huge names on the market (Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, etc). Many of these names will more than likely change zip codes before the summer is over.
Although there is a possibility two of these players will land on the same team—many are declaring whoever that team is to be the favorites to win the championship—there is the one factor the Lakers will maintain over every potential contender: chemistry.
With any shuffling of players, you immediately have to wonder exactly how they will play together. There have been several occasions where teams have landed two huge free agents and failed miserably when it came to getting an NBA Championship. Remember Tracy Mcgrady and Grant Hill in Orlando? Or how about T-Mac and Yao Ming in Houston? Neither of these tandems panned out to even sniff a championship. Sure, the Boston Celtics put together a magnificent team built around Paul Pierce and emerging point guard Rajon Rondo when they added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett en route to the title in 2008. But the likelihood of a team putting together that particular combination of size, shooting, ball handling, defense and other intangibles is slim to none; Unless LeBron went to the Clippers, but that’s another story for another post.
If you put Dwyane Wade with Chris Bosh in Miami, you still have glaring holes that would prevent them from being an outright favorite. Let’s just say LeBron James goes to the Chicago Bulls. LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah sounds like a good tandem. They’ll probably annihilate the Eastern Conference. But put that team up against the Lakers and they likely will fall because they still will have difficulty dealing with Kobe, Pau, Lamar, Ron and a hopefully healthy and improving Andrew Bynum.
If you look at the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the top four seeds from each conference will all either change dramatically or simply won’t improve enough to compete with the Lakers. Cleveland has to find a way to lure LeBron back and woo another player to be the Robin to his Batman. Shaq was too damn old and Mo Williams starred in the NBA’s version of “Disappearing Acts.” Orlando spent too much money on Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard hasn’t developed enough to carry the team on his back against the Lakers. Boston isn’t getting any younger. Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas won’t look like the same come next season. The Nuggets will always be good, but not good enough.
No matter what happens this off-season, no team will be able to get it together in enough time to prevent Kobe Bryant from getting his sixth NBA title. Unless Pau or Kobe go down with a season-ending injury, it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to matchup across the board with the Lakers for a seven-game series. They may have had their hands full with the Celtics, but they proved that they don’t need Kobe to light up the scoreboard in order to win. That’s probably the scariest thing about this Laker team.
The only move the Lakers need to make is one that brings Phil Jackson back to Hollywood. Aside from that, the Lakers aren’t in dire need of an impact player. So while everyone else does the NBA shuffle, the Lakers will cool out and do what they do best – win games.
By this time next year, Kobe Bryant should have his 6th ring and the debate regarding whether or not he is better than Michael Jordan will intensify. Sorry everyone else, this is just how it is.