Lakers Season Preview: Breaking Down the Frontcourt

The Lakers frontcourt in 2009-10 is going to be one of the best group most of us can remember.  With a four-man rotation of Bynum, Gasol, Odom, and Artest, the crew will be a force to be reckoned with.

While the Lake Show cleaned up the playoffs using Odom as a starter and Bynum off the bench, I think we should look for Phil Jackson to put things back the way they were at the start of last season- a rotation of Pau/Drew at center and a rotation of Lamar/Pau at Power Forward.  No doubt Ron Artest will be starting at Small Forward to top it off.

The question, then, is who will rotate with Artest?

We’ve seen Kobe play SF, but let’s not kid ourselves- that will be the exception, not the rule.  More likely it will be Luke Walton filling in but wait- isn’t there a player we’re forgetting here?  Not too long ago, some unknown kid named Adam Morrison started showing up in the summer leagues as a real player.  We can’t rule out the possibility that he may earn his obnoxious salary this year and actually get some non-garbage-time playing minutes.

Not to knock Mbenga and Powell, but I think it’s safe to say that barring serious injury their roles will likely be limited again this season.

Injury.  That’s a fun topic to bring up when it comes to the Lakers frontcourt.  Can they stay healthy?

Pau has been consistent and without serious injury issues.  Artest is a man-beast and I’m not sure if you can injure him.  Bynum has an obvious history, and Lamar has had issues in the past as well.  It’s fair to say that an injury in the frontcourt this season could prove disastrous.

One idea that has been thrown around is to start the five “best” players on the team- Kobe at the #1, Artest at the #2, Lamar at#3, Pau at #4 and Andrew at the #5.  While it sounds intriguing to have that much talent on the floor, I want you to picture Aaron Brooks or Chris Paul playing against that team: Who chases the speedy guy around all night?

To be honest, I think we can expect much of the same from last year- just substitute the word “Artest” for the word “Ariza” and you’ll come out pretty similar.