Saturday, November 5, 2011
LET'S GO LAKERS
7 Bold Predictions for the 2011/2012 Season.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
(Originally published by 'Bleacher Report' http://bleacherreport.com/articles/923103-los-angeles-lakers-7-bold-predictions-for-the-2011-12-season-if-it-ever-starts)
The locked out NBA is a mess right now.
The knocked-out, 2010 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers aren't looking their prettiest either, from losing their throne, their zen and possibly (like every other team) their season.
Still, if we actually do end up having a season this year, what will be made of one of the NBA's most popular franchises?
1. Mike Brown Will Make the Lake Show Run
OK, so Phil Jackson may have walked to the dismay and despair of many Lakers fans, but they must accept that Mike Brown is running things...and run things he will.
He's still receiving ringing, welcoming endorsements from Snoop Dogg (via Twitter) to Kobe Bryant (finally). Here's why: This former coach of the year almost took the wine and gold of Cleveland to champagne and championship gold, all whilst bringing the best out of LeBron. Now that's a real Cavalier.
This former Cleveland Brown will run his players like this was the NFL, opening up doors, lanes and roster spots for the slashers like Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks. Everyone will get some burn and, of course, Kobe will thrive. Now if only he can convince Shannon Brown to come back.
2. World Peace Will Outsell Kobe
Ron Artest, excuse me, Metta World Peace's popularity is bigger than ever right now. How big? Well, put it this way: Fans are flocking to and not from their seats when he's in arenas these days.
Everything is on the up and up, from Metta's mental peace of mind to his extra-curricular activities (from 'Dancing With The Stars' to even more comedy). So surely once the lockout ends and the league and its business opens back up, Metta's new jerseys will sell with the best of them.
This isn't like keeping up with Artest's number changes. The new vests adorned with Metta's new, court-approved (legal and hardwood) surname will be a favorite for collectors and statement makers worldwide.
Everyone's going to want 'World Peace' on the back of their jerseys. Besides, hasn't everyone already bought their Kobe uniforms?
3. The Gasol Brothers Will Battle Like Spanish Bulls
Pau Gasol, for a decade now, has been one of the best European talents, if not best all-around players, in the league. But since the Beijing Olympics almost four years back, his international teammate, fellow countryman and younger brother has crept up on him in the family competition ranks.
Marc Gasol was actually a Lakers draft choice who was involved in the blockbuster Pau power trade and now Marc is making his mark on a Memphis Grizzlies team that showed the San Antonio Spurs and the league's best that they are no joke.
Lakers fans can only imagine how good it would be to have the two brothers side by side in the purple and gold frontcourt. Wonder is all they can do now, however, as Marc and Memphis are growing into contenders for the future. This could make for some incredible, 'where amazing happens' playoff battles between the Gasol boys and some great NBA side-stories.
This, of course, is lockout pending. These brothers could end up teammates again back in Spain and although that would be good to see, we have the Olympics for that. These two bullfighters belong back in the NBA ring.
4. Derek Fisher Will Save L.A. Right After Saving the League in the Clutch
The NBA is in big trouble right now and the only man who can save it is the only man who can save the Lakers. No we're not talking about Robert Horry.
We're talking about 'the Fish that saved L.A.,' 'Mr. 0.4,' 'Mr. Big Shot 2.' We're talking about Derek Fisher.
Sure 0.0 has ticked on the regular season clock and now games are being cancelled like bad TV shows. So who's watching and who's going to do something about this? Derek that's who.
The president of the NBA Players Association is looking to do the right thing and elect change. If anyone can do it he can. He has a good relationship with his peers and owners alike and we're confident he can salvage some of the season. Just in time for him to hit some clutch buckets that will help keep the Lakers going too.
5. Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom Will Star
Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are already big in L.A. even without Kareems or Kardashians in their corners. One of the last true centers and last year's 'Sixth Man of the Year' are even more popular beyond the Lakers.
This could be the breakout year where both guys breakdown more doors and not in the form of trading places for Dwight Howard. Drew's knee as well as the lockout will be a factor, but that aside, Bynum could further develop into one of the best players in the league, not just one of the best centers.
Even though he's got a lot of guys like Kobe standing in his spotlight, he's got the post skills to be one of the greats of this game.
Speaking of skills, the Earvin 'Magic' Johnson like all-around play of Lamar Odom should finally see him achieve All-Star status. Sure, people have been saying this for years, while Lamar even shaved it into his head, but by the looks and the awards of things, the Association is starting to recognize. It's time for the overdue to come true. This deserves to be a career year for two real stars.
6. The Walton's Family Legacy Will Follow a Similar Trend
The Walton family is too nice to finish last. Still, recent reports have surfaced that Lakers favourite Luke Walton may retire due to a list of ailments longer than his father's range of vocabulary. Sound familiar? Luke's dad Bill's career was also cut short by injury. Now, like father like son, another promising, skillful player could be lost to nostalgia, and what could have been.
Soon Lakers fans may be screaming 'Noooo' instead of 'Luuuuke'. It really will sound like boo's if one of the Lakers family fond members has to divorce himself from the game.
Still, no matter the time spent on court, just like Daddy, this Lakers son's talent will always speak for itself. Also, the precision, perfect passer was already looking to take his smarts to coaching during the lockout.
Now that could make for one hell of a second career. His father knows that hanging up the sneakers doesn't mean lacing up your career.
7. Fans Will Finally Get What They Want as Kobe vs. LeBron Will Go to the Finals
Dirk and Dallas may have shown L.A., Miami and the rest of the league who the real Mavericks are last season, but don't think that this has cooled things off in Florida and California.
The anticipation of a Kobe/LeBron NBA Finals matchup is heating up. The fans are ready like the Nike puppet commercials, but who's pulling the strings? Rumors floated around last year that the NBA was bored with the idea of another Lakers/Celtics classic storied clash, but what about the ultimate post-Jordan battle for the throne.
It doesn't matter that, even though Kobe's the greatest since M.J., LeBron's the better player these days. James will not truly be crowned King until he climbs ladders above the Mamba.
The debate to who's best will not be settled until one ultimately wins by beating the other. That's why we need a Lakers vs. Heat, Kobe vs. LeBron NBA Finals whilst we still can.
It will happen. You think Kobe's going to lay down after last season? So the question is: Who will come out victorious?
To answer that you will just have to wait and see.