We’re still much too early in the process to get into all the specifics of what the Los Angeles Lakers will look like this season. Sure, there is an agreement in place to end the lockout but until those padlocks are removed we’re not out of the woods.
What we do know is that if the season does in fact begin on Christmas morning then the Lakers will be facing the Chicago Bulls. What we also know is that the regular season will consist of 66 games.
In that scenario a shorter season could work in favor of the veteran Lakers provided all of the guys have been preparing as if the season could start at any minute.
On the health front 66 games works like a full season for Andrew Bynum. Drew’s health is always a concern. In this instance he could play a full slate of scheduled games provided there are no more of those freak occurrences around his knees.
For Kobe Bryant the lengthy lockout has given his body a chance to recover from the years of hooping. Kobe’s trip to Germany for an experimental knee treatment mad e plenty of headlines. Soon enough we’ll get a chance to see how that knee is holding up.
Pau Gasol took the offseason as a challenge. Gasol knew he had to jump right back in the saddle after going out like a sucker in the playoffs. Gasol’s wounded heart has hopefully healed thanks to a successful summer. Pau and his brother helped the Spanish national team to its second consecutive Euro title. Pau recently returned to L.A. after spending some extended time in Spain training with his former club in Barcelona.
Matt Barnes has been on a long road to recovery. Barnes’ knee injury greatly affected his first season in Los Angeles. He’s had time to rehab and has been playing in various leagues during the down time. There is no way of knowing how big a role Barnes will play under Mike Brown. What we do know is the Lakers are going to need a big lift from their bench and Barnes figures to be a part of that in some way.
Metta World Peace has been busy with most everything except hoops. Smart money is on Metta being in shape as he’s known for his work ethic. However just how focused he’ll be remains to be seen. If ever there was a wildcard, World Peace defines it. Good luck with that, Coach Brown.
Now the guy that hasn’t had any sort of downtime to speak of during this lockout is Derek Fisher. I’m sure D-Fish has been taking care of himself but you know he’s weary from all the travel, talks and general tumultuous nature of the negotiations.
Where the short season helps the Lakers’ cause is how quickly they’ll have to get dialed in. With the way last season ended you’d hope any of that lackluster nature leftover has been burned off. The Lake Show laid a huge egg late in the season and couldn’t right the ship in the playoffs. By jumping right into the mix on Christmas morning the urgency should be there built right in by the schedule.
Now the man that could be as vital as ever is Lamar Odom. LO put together a great season last year only to see it end in embarrassing fashion. Hopefully he’s kept his competitive edge during a very trying offseason. As crazy as it might sound, Odom could be the ultimate key to unlocking the Lakers’ championship potential.
For now it’s just good to be talking actual hoops. We’ve got plenty more to digest in the coming days. However right now it looks like a shorter season could be just what the hoops doctor ordered for the Lakers.