So the 2007-2008 season has finally came to a close.
First off, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Lakers for giving us this amazing ride that no one could have expected. By dominating the Western Conference playoffs and reaching the NBA Finals, they shocked the entire world.
However, all things must eventually come to an end. Hats of the Celtics for dominating the Lakers thoroughly.
Nevertheless, one thing that is certain, the future for the Los Angeles Lakers is brighter and hotter than a 105 degree day in Southern California.
Andrew Bynum returning brings a lot to the table. He brings more athleticism and more of a defensive presence in the middle. He is one of the best young centers in the game, and his return alone makes the Lakers a vastly improved defensive team up front. One thing is for sure, with him in the middle the Lakers won’t get dominated on the boards as much as they were this post-season.
His statements in the exit interviews should get Lakers fans excited, “I just want to be a Laker. As long as they treat me right, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t have to be the max for me.” I think I speak for the entire Lakers Nation when I say — Amen, Andrew, Amen!
I don’t care about the reports say. I believe whole heartedly that Ron Artest will be in Purple and Gold next year. You just get the feeling that he wants to be here. We want him here. The guy prides himself in locking down the other teams best wing player. What is not to love about him? He has matured greatly over the last couple years and one things for sure, if he’s in Purple and Gold, there will be no more Paul Pierce driving to the basket at will.
Now, the Lakers will most likely resign both of their free agents Sasha and Ronny Turiaf. Chris Mihm probably won’t be back with us. Luke Walton and Vlad “Rad” are pieces that the Lakers could probably do without. Luke Walton just had a horrific season to say the least. He was injured most of the season and just never found his stride. Vlad on the other hand was inconsistent. He showed signs of brilliance, but the bottom line is that his a horrible defender and a very streaky shooter. The Lakers just can’t win with him in the starting line up.
Perhaps the biggest question is what the Lakers decide to do with Lamar Odom. It seems like we are here every single off-season. I didn’t think we would be here this time, but we are again. He disappeared again for the most part of the Finals and is the Lakers biggest trade piece. He is now an expiring contract.
Now, I have been doing some serious thinking about Lamar at the 3, and when I really think it through, I don’t think he fits. Small forwards need to be knockdown shooters. Lamar definitely is not that, and if the Lakers are to add Ron Artest, it makes a huge pile up at small forward. Maybe the Lakers could acquire a player like Baron Davis. However, only time will tell.
The one thing that is for certain, the Lakers lacked the mental toughness to win it all this year. They will learn a lot from this experience and should come back stronger than ever next year. You have to lose and be humbled before you can win it all. That is usually the case in sports, the only exceptions being Cinderella type seasons like the Florida Marlins have done in the past.
The Lakers had one heck of a ride this year, one that we won’t forget anytime soon. Kobe took us as far as one man could possibly take a team, he needs help that is consistent. With how bright the Lakers future looks, and Ron Artest possibly on his way, he is sure to get that help so he and the rest of the Lakers can hoist that trophy up.
The dynasty will emerge.
*On a personal note, I would like to ask the entire Lakers Nation to remember my good friend Kristina who was in a pretty bad car accident earlier this week. She suffered some neck injuries and is still in the hospital. So please pray for that she recovers!