ESPN: The Five Most Surprising Teams

According to Barry, Lakers are 4th most surprising team…

bench.jpgESPN: The biggest surprise is the way all the offseason talk about a Kobe Bryant trade really galvanized this team. With no major changes to the roster — although they did bring back Derek Fisher — this team has responded with a 23-11 start.

Andrew Bynum, who hadn’t shown signs that this kind of improvement was coming, has been a dominant force for the team, averaging 12.9 points and 10 rebounds per game with an NBA second-best 62.8 field goal percentage. Jordan Farmar has played very well, and Trevor Ariza was a terrific early-season addition from the Magic.

I really expected, considering the way Kobe came in to the season, that there would be major distractions. Instead, the Lakers have been tremendous offensively, and Phil Jackson is doing the best coaching job he’s ever done.

Chris Manning is a co-owner and video producer for TheLakersNation.com. In addition to his "LD2k" fan-video productions, Chris is working as the "Production Manager" for HS3; A Digital, Brand Strategy and Marketing company based in L.A. which represents the digital entities of numerous high-profile athletes. You can follow him on Twitter for a wide array of sports/Lakers talk!
  • D LO

    Actually, a lot of people knew that with the way Andrew improved from year 1 to year 2, that a similar improvement from year 2 to year 3 would take place. 10 and 10 THIS YEAR was never out of the question. Only haters and Kobephiles thought he wouldn’t help much yet.

  • LEADERFISH

    [Comment ID #21883 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Jon Barry either didn’t watch or remember Bynum’s good start last year. Then he ran out of gas due to losing 20 lbs during the season. He looks like he will sustain himself this year.

  • LytesOut

    I, myself, have been very skeptical at the beginning of the season to be a season ticket holder. I thought this year was going to be a bust because of the potential distraction that the whole Kobe issue would bring. But it seems like they’ve put that aside, and the team is doing really well. I almost passed up the opportunity to get the season tickets (after waiting 2 years on the waiting list), but im glad I trusted my Laker Fan instincts and got it. Speaking of which, if you guys are interested, I have some tickets available:

    01/21/08 vs. Denver Nuggets, Section 110, Row 18, $300 per seat (2 seats together available)

    01/21/08 vs. Denver Nuggets, Section 304, Row 15, $32 per seat (2 seats together available)

    If you’re interested, please email me at christopheralat@cox.net

  • MILO

    Actually getting rid of smush and signing Fisher was a big change in the roster.I’ve noticed one thing in particular about Fisher and Farmar they dont always give the ball to Kobe every time he’s asking for it.To me this is the big reason why the rest of the Lakers are beeing succesfull this season because of them looking to get the rest of the team involved especially Bynum.IM GLAD WE HAVE A VET IN FISHER AND A GUY WITH A LOT OF BALLS IN FARMAR WHO DONT GET INTIMIDATED BY KOBE AND ARE NOT SCARED TO PASS THE BALL TO SOME ONE ELSE EVEN WHEN KOBE IS ASKING FOR IT.THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT BECAUSE IN THE LONG RUN COME PLAYOFF TIME THE REST OF THE TEAM WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE BALL INSTEAD OF JUST GIVING IT RIGHT BACK TO KOBE.ALL WE NEED IS JO NEXT SEASON AND THE LAKERS WILL BRING THE CHAMPIONSHIP BACK TO LA WHERE IT BELONGS…PLEASE JO OPPT OUT AND COME HERE YOU KNOW YOU’RE BETTER OF TAKE A FU-CK-EN PAY CUT LIKE DUNCAN IF NECESARY…

  • DCLAKER

    What your really trying to say is this what Kobe wanted all along,DAMN,HE SAID IT LAST SEASON,GUYS NEED TO STEP AND CREATE THEIR OWN SHOTS,JUST I ASK FOR THE BALL DOESN’T MEAN I NEED THE BALL,PEACE

  • MILO

    [Comment ID #21901 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I was not aware he said this, this is great because last season it seemed as if the rest of the team were playing hot potato with it and it always ended up in Kobe’s hands with 2 or 3 seconds left in the shot clock.What a diference from last season!!!

  • http://mydeek.orgnigga PhantoM

    Yep, Remember Game 7 of our rd 1 heartbreaker 2 yrs ago.
    Kobe i think had like 4-8 pts in the 2nd half, he was trying to get the team involved, but sadly noone stepped up..

    Anyways we should be higher then 4.. i think only team more suprising then us is Portland,

  • DCLAKER

    Portland will fall off because teams like San Antonio,Phoenix and Dallas will get stronger as the season goes,it happens every year,the contenders always start off slow then finish strong.Sorry for yellin’ MILO,this LAKER season has me on edge,especially with KG in Boston but thank goodness for Bynum improvement(THE NEW TWIN TOWERS,AB/JO/LO COMING SOON).

  • LakersFirst (Change) (Close)

    [Comment ID #21901 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Why are people forgetting that the Lakers were 26-13 last year, until injuries killed the season? This Laker team was a good squad last year until the injuries hit. Now they might have been championship calibur last year but NOW the team is essentially the same players with the only additions being Fisher and Ariza and they think they can be a serious contender in the players (if they stay healthy). Derek Fisher has been a fantstic addition to the team because I think he’s taught Kobe how to be a team player again. Farmar was a rookie last year and had great development. Bynum improved after his 1st year and its clear he’s improved after last year (his conditioning is way better). Ariza has been a steal from the Magic. You guys believe in this Laker team.

  • DCLAKER

    But what about the guys that weren’t injured?What was they’re role,just getting a check.They should have stepped up but Kobe has to WILL this team yet again to the playoffs.I understand now why Arenas said Kobe was a mental player.If you can’t relay what I’m telling you in practice to the Game itself then just watch the show(REMEMBER WHEN HE SCORED 81,AFTER BEING DOWN BY 20 TO TORONTO AT HOME).What you seen on Team USA is how Kobe wanted the lakers to be in the first place.When someone ask for help(look at P.Pierce)you usually help them.Thank God for DF.

  • Ed

    I Agree with MILO. Just check out the Boston Game when Kobe tried to do it all by himself. I want him to be a laker as much as anyone else, but I’m glad he’s starting to adjust to his teammates, Although he still drives m crazy when he puts up ridiculous shots compromises the team defensively. I would also like to see more inside-out passing with bynum. I think the lakers would be unstoppable if they run their offense earlier and thru bynum.

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #21939 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Last year, three of the injured players were starters (Walton, Odom and Brown), Farmar was just a rookie and obviously had a lot to learn (look at him now, he’s much improved), and Bynum was in his second year and didn’t have the conditioning to maintain a full season (now he’s got a conditioning coach and is much more consistent). Furthermore, Radman had an injury throughout the year then like a dumba** hurt himself in Utah (so he never got off to a start in his first year). Basically the core team was injured except Kobe. What players did they have left? a crappy Smush Parker, an oversized Shammond Williams, an old Aaron McKie? Come on, you have to acknowledge that the players that could’ve made a difference, that are all making contributions this year, were all injured.

    You make it seem like Kobe is the only reason why the Lakers have improved. If you think that, you’re sorely mistaken. All the Laker players want to win. Even PJ says that all the Lakers know where they were at last year and don’t want to relive that crumble again. As much as everyone complains about Odom, he’s been doing a great job lately rebounding and playing defense. You can see Odom wants to win (I”m sure he’s sick of everyone bashing him). If Farmar didn’t want to win why was he in the gym over the summer improving his game. If Bynum didn’t want to win why do you think he hired a conditioning coach to increase his stamina. If Turiaf doesn’t want to win why is does he bring ENERGY every night. Other players have that desire too – Ariza, Walton, etc. I mean you even have Radman and Sasha playing hard. Grant it they may not score 20 points a night but the desire to win is there. Don’t mistake talent for desire. If you can’t see that this team wants to win, then you’re blind.