Blog Entry

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 11:28 am
Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant says this year's Lakers are in a better spot than last year's version. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

On Monday, we argued that the Los Angeles Lakers are still the favorites to come out of the Western Conference -- despite their five-game losing streak -- because they possess the most talented and tested group among the West's elite. For the Lakers, though, it appears to be less about how they stack up to their competition this season rather than how they compare to last year's title-winning group. 

Indeed, Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant tells the LA Times that he's not worried about the team's recent struggles because this year's team is in a better spot than last year's.  
"Everybody wants to put the nail in the coffin," Kobe Bryant said. "We've all been there before." 
"Last year we didn't know what the hell was going on," Bryant said. "We had a lot of injuries. My knee needed to be operated on. A lot of question marks.
"Here we really don't have any question marks. These are executional things, these are correctable things. From that standpoint, we all feel comfortable about it. You don't even see anybody here feeling like it's doom and gloom because these are problems that can be corrected and will be corrected."
A few of last year's question marks, in addition to Bryant's knee, included center Andrew Bynum's health, the integration of Ron Artest into the Lakers' system and how Derek Fisher would fare against the West's elite point guards. 

Is Bryant right to say that this year's group has less question marks? Without a doubt. A fully healthy Bryant, even if he's a year older, outweighs all other concerns, especially because the rest of the Lakers' core -- Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Bynum, Artest -- remains intact. There are still questions about Artest's role but he clearly proved his worth during the post-season last year and Bynum has been playing some of the best ball of his career over the last few months.

The biggest question for this year's team was a concern last year too: motivation. The Lakers closed last season 4-7 in their last 11 games and have lost five straight this year. But, just like last season, they enjoyed a dominant stretch in March that should ease those concerns. Last year, the Lakers won seven straight in March; this year, LA ran off 12 victories in 13 games in March. LA has already clinched the Pacific Division title and should they win out -- against the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings -- they'll finish with an identical record to last season: 57-25. We know how that turned out: the Lakers went 16-7 on their way to a second consecutive title.

In other words, don't bury the Lakers yet.

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 10:50 am

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Nobody will beat the Lakers in a 7 game series. if Bynum is hurt they will actually be better offensively with Odom starting. They'll suffer defensively, but they basically won 2 championships without him. Last year they won 57 games and guess what this year they will 75 games. 

Since: Mar 17, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:40 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Kobe I wouldn't dare bury you but you've got to start playing like the Lakers--not the Fakers!

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 7:27 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

One of the wonderful things about the Lakers is this: they don't need home-court advantage! Eat it, haters!

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 4:24 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

How are this years Lakers in a better spot than last years? They don't have homecourt throughout like they did last year. That makes no sense at all.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 4:11 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

The Lakers a still the best, most complete tam in the NBA.  Sure, the Heat, Celtics, and and Magic have bolstered themselves, but they sill are not as complete as the Lakers.  I'll take the Lakers to win the whole thing again, but will be pulling for my Celtics.

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:17 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Exactly what I've been saying. No problem. No worries. Another ring is coming.... Eat it, haters!

Since: Aug 2, 2009
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:09 pm

Kobe Bryant: Don't bury Lakers yet

Who's out there trying to bury the Lakers?  As long as Phil "The Zen Master" Jackson is coaching them and the Busses are owning them, I don't think you can ever count them out once they reach the playoffs.  I'm sure many fans, prognosticators (Wow! What a word.  Sounds more like a thing that gets sent up your patootie rather than a media guesser) and bettors in the past have gone against and thought they would falter only to be left in tears while L.A. is putting another banner in the rafters.  Does anyone ever wonder why the Lakers and the Celtics (and I guess you can now make a case for San Antonio) win so many championships?  Maybe it's because year in and year out they have the best front office personnel, money and players in the league.  No, don't ever bury a team like the Lakers.  Historically, it has proven to be a bad move.

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