90040708NG006_MAVS_LAKERSThis piece was supposed to be posted before the season started, but I dislocated my ring finger and tore two ligaments in my pinky. Let’s just say it’s not easy typing with a Gary Vitti tape job.

Anyway, a week into the season and we can now safely answer some of our more persistent questions…

Kobe Bryant -

Kobe looked much better than he did a year ago at this time. Before my hamstring injury (you can’t sit down and type with a slight hamstring tear) I was going to write about how the Lakers were either going to see a 06′ Kobe or a Kobe we’ve never seen before, and one that we wouldn’t want to see. Well, we are seeing a new Kobe, but it’s a Kobe who looks an awful lot like the 95′ – 98′ Michael Jordan, or even a quicker, smaller, more athletic Hakeem Olajuwon (which of course makes sense with Kobe working out with ‘The Dream’ in the off-season).

Kobe’s always had the “fire” fadeaway, and the “cray cray” footwork, but he’s added the ball fake swoop under to the basket move, and the really insane post up dribble-spin move. I get lost in the myriad of Kobe post moves now — imagine how defenders feel.

However, Kobe may be putting out too much too soon. Hopefully he saves some over-priced fossil fuel gasoline in his tank for June.

Ron-Ron -

First off, I just can’t call Ron-Ron by anything other than Ron-Ron, or his full name Ron Artest. Doesn’t it feel insanely weird to just call him Artest or Ron? But I digress, Ron’s really looked like the lockdown defender he was advertised to be.

A lot of pundits, before the season started, said that he had lost a step, but it doesn’t seem that way at all. In fact, he looks amazingly rejuvenated. Unfortunately he’s not shooting great yet, but that will come with time, and he’s a much better passer out of the post than I thought he ever was. Now if we could just find ways to keep him out of the recording studio, and recording hits like “Michael We Miss You,” or sneaking up behind guys in the shower.

Lamar Odom -

Still not sure what to think about Lamar. In The Dallas Debacle he decided it was necessary to try and go one on one with “Dirkalicious,” and throw the whole offense out of sink. Granted nobody really played well, but Lamar is probably the last person any of us Laker fans want to see using the King James 1-4 set. He’s also decided that his Finals’ three-point shooting will carry over to the regular season, and has jacked up ten trey’s in three games while shooting a low 30 percent.

He did play well in the opener, and almost posted a triple-double versus the Atlanta Hawks.

And who knows maybe marriage will focus his ever wandering mind, and make him a little more consistent this year.

Español Grande -

The Big Spanish and his hamstring may cost the Lakers a chance at 72.

My worst fears have officially come true. Pau logged BIG minutes for us last year, and then went and played his corazón out for España in the Euro Championships effectively burning out his spindly muscles. Hamstrings are lingering slow healing injuries, and it’s pretty clear that our offense doesn’t look nearly as fluid — or effective — without his Catalan self.

We need Pau badly. We need his shaggy mullet thing he’s got going on nowadays, we need his beard, we need his seemingly smelly appearance, and we need a big man who can shoot, run the floor, block shots, rebound, and pass like only Español Grande can!

  • 242LakerFan

    I think you’re pretty much dead on in your analysis, Max. I just have to add that this new Kobe, while fascinating in his potential, is having trouble finding his happy place. At times it seems he’s pushing too hard, at others not hard enough. There’s a deadly creature being born, but he’s going through a sluggish labour.
    As an addendum to your article, let me mention that Bynum still seems to be finding his rhythm, or maybe still growing into his talent. He’s scoring nicely, but he’s not quite the presence in the paint he should be, witness 3 rebounds the other night vs. Atlanta. That’s weak.
    This team will still push 70 wins IMHO, but it’s a work yet in progress. I hope the masterpiece is completed by the late January eastern swing. Then we will know for sure if this is a team that can transcend “Championship Calibre” to achieve “Team of Destiny” status.
    I believe.