Saturday, November 13, 2010


So good there's seconds.

Nov 2, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers players (from left) Kobe Bryant (24), Lamar Odom (7), Steve Blake (5) and Ron Artest (15) watch on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Grizzlies 124-105. Photo via Newscom

The Lake Show is on right now. Over the past few seasons Los Angeles have been so good they've been named champion twice. If the Lakers make it three this season they will have to rely on more than the mamba, the zen and the Spaniard however. The Lakers depth extends more than Ron Artest's wide range of extensive experience and Derek Fishers clutch range. If the Lakers are to be more successful and write history like Drake a big reason will be the bench mob which is the best they ever had. The second infantry is what will soldier this team on in a deep season and playoff campaign as the Lakers look to get presidential a year after their second, victorious term. With this in mind and on court let's scout even further.

STEVE BLAKE: Derek Fisher may have the experience but Steve Blakes the future. Derek may have the years but Steve's got the speed. Blakes three point shot has developed so much that you could bank on it rivalling Fisher's in the clutch. These backcourt mates have nothing to bicker about however. These two guards compliment each other perfectly. Steve Blake in less than ten games has shown that he would even belong in the first five. This game hero has already been a life saver for LA and there's still plenty of breathing space left for his development. A couple of years back the Lakers were a donut in the PG position but now they get the point.

Nov 2, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake (5) dribbles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center. Photo via Newscom

SHANNON BROWN: There's more than a recent engagement to R&B singer Monica that is making this spark plug hit all the high notes. Shannon's always been more than a dunker but this year Brown is seeing the light. Shannon looks to take flight this 82 as this years slogan should be 'Let Shannon Play'. Already this season Brown's shown great versatility. He shot the lights out against Portland in a blowout win last week that wasn't even needed. A necessity however is Brwon's developing range that is measuring as high as his energy. Still Shannon's dunking is what is pined after and gawked at as much as the bikini models on Venice Beach and it's these amazing aerial displays that will keep other teams grounded in games where the Lakers team or crowd need a lift me up. Shannon Brown is the perfect definition of an energy player off the bench. Lose your spark he's ready to plug in at any given time. This pine time player is an expert in the prime time. Remember it's not who starts games, it's who finishes them.

June 10, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02195866 Boston Celtics player Tony Allen (R) tries to stop a drive against Los Angeles Lakers player Shannon Brown (L) during the first half of game four of the NBA Finals at TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 10 June 2010. The Lakers lead the series over the Celtics 2-1.

MATT BARNES: This tattooed warrior has settled back in California looking for some championship ink. Sure to some this guy appears rough around the edges bit a player like him should make the Lakers cruise to the championship on a smooth sail. Matt is the strong, second wind behind the energy of the bench mob. With Ron Artest and the doberman, Barnes Jerry Maguires a three man perimeter defence tandem that is the best in the league. When all three bless the court at the same time even the Miami Heat will have hell to play. Plus Matt can spell both Kobe's shooting guard position and Ron's small forward spot meaning this swingman can give the Lakers an effervescent, fiery, defensive presence when the Lakers first string defenders cool off from the burn. Barnes tenacity and versatility help the Lakers adopt these characteristics as well. This defensive minded player is offensive too. Career highs of 36 points make Barnes guilty of talent on both ends of the floor.

Los Angeles Lakers Matt Barnes goes for the basket against the Houston Rockets during the first half of their NBA game in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

LAMAR ODOM: He has not made an All-Star team yet (why?) and critics have written him off as the Scottie Pippen to Kobe's Michael Jordan (again why?). Still however Lamar Odom is the benches franchise player to Kobe's first team one. He may never be an MVP but if it wasn't for Bynums injuries this guy could of already been the sixth man of the year. With 'Drew out Odom can help the roster draw shape by moving to the four on the floor as Gasol takes front and centre. It's this versatility that sets guys like Odom and Garnett from the rest. If LA cloned L.O. he could play all five positions. This big guy can play in the backcourt too, now that's truly Magic. He's come on leaps and bounds over the years, but don't get it twisted he's no most improved. Lamar's always been this good. There isn't a player quite like him and until Anthony Randolph develops there won't be one still. Another unique thing about the Hollywood favourite (in more ways than one) is his unselfishness. He could be the star but he's more complimentary, not lazy. Critics may put other so called stars above Odom but he's got two things those others don't have...rings.

Los Angeles Lakers Lamar Odom, left, gets his championship ring from NBA Commission David Stern before their NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Los Angeles on October 26, 2010. The Lakers won 112 to 110. UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

THEO RATLIFF: Lakers backup centres have always been reliable and entertaining but you can bank on something more eye catching with defensive presence, Theo Ratliff bringing his shot-swatting staple to the Lakers stadium. Look for Theo to be as welcome in this Lakers family as a Huxtable is to the Cosby's. There's going to be a block party in L.A this year with Ratliffs presence on the hardwood and with this D student coming off the bench the defensive minded Lakers look even better at guarding their championship throne. With Bynum off the block too LA need Ratliff more than ever. Now Theo may be the oldest Laker but even in reduced minutes he'll still bring the Lakers an asset of experience that will pay off in playoff dividends.

Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol of Spain (2nd L) and Houston Rockets Luis Scola of Argentina (R) fight for a rebound with the Rockets Brad Miller (L) and the Lakers Theo Ratliff during their NBA game in Los Angeles, California, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

(Ratliff's got Pau Gasol's back in more than just this photo)

Now with a second unit as strong as this it even leaves talent like Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic on the third team. Or if you like, the benches ideal sixth man (how strong is this?). It's this second battalions mix of fight, versatility and experience that makes these players the perfect finishing compliment to the starters. This second string ties this team together brilliantly. Meaning even when the Lakers are on the ropes they'll have the support in their corner ready to go another round. This second squad may not be a Hollywood list but it's all-star. Now don't you just love it when a B-team comes together? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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