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Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Why the 16-3 Lakers are no Fakers
They are many reasons why the Lakers are dominating early on with the top record of 16-3. Let me do my best and point out the obvious positives that make this team the best team in the league. I will attempt to explain by giving you individual player stats that stand out. (In no particular order)
Lakers have the best player in the league (3rd best ranked player) in Kobe Bryant, averaging 29 pts a game. Melo is the league's leader with 30 pts a game. I'm not factoring in Kevin Martin's numbers because he's only played 5 games this season is out with a fractured left wrist. Kobe is also ranked 3rd in steals with an average 2 steals per game. Kobe is amazing and never disappoints. KB24 will pass the legendary Jerry West this season to be the Lakers all-time leading scorer. An accolade that will be foreshadowed by yet another Larry O'Brien.
Lamar is a great bench player. He's currently ranked 2 (SF) in DREBS with an average of 7 per game and the team's #2 rebounder with 158 total. Even though his minutes are decreasing, Odom is the among the best 6th men in the league. The unfortunate leading stat the Lakers would rather ignore is the fact that Lamar is still the team's assist leader with 83. This is a true sign that the champs are in need of a PG who sets the tempo.
Artest has become quite the outside perimeter threat. He is the team's leading 3pt shooter with 32 and currently ranked 12th in the league (SG/SF). Artest will soon be the team's assist leader with just 7 under Lamar. When there's no shot in the lane, there's definitely options for the outside dish, especially with how Ron has been shooting the rock! Artest's added strength and power to the team has helped the team lose it's "soft" label.
Bynum is the team's leading rebounder with 167 boards and averaging 10 per game and has the most Laker blocks with 28. If Kobe has a bad night, Andrew will have his back being the team's 2nd best scorer. Andrew's inside game has improved significantly and towers over his defenders with ease.
Since Gasol's return, he been playing extraordinarily well and has lifted the team on a new high. The Lakers struggled with Pau's absence during the beginning of the season with close victories and embarrassing losses but now that Spaniard is back and healthy, Lakers are back to their old ways if not stronger. Gasol is averaging 18 pts & 9 rebs. He's yet to score in single digits this season. Gasol is a vital part to this championship squad because of his defensive length and ability to score in the paint fairly easily.
Brown is an energetic spark off the bench the Lakers need to close games. He fills in for Kobe perfectly. His numbers do not give him justice as his minutes are limited. Something to definitely look at when it comes to Shannon Brown is his jumping ability. His calf muscles alone are note worthy. I mean seriously, his vertical leap gives those fans in the nose bleed seats a front row spectacle. Once Kobe hits the bench, the game excitement typically leaves with him but this isn't the case when Shannon replaces him. When you have some free time, youtube Shannon Brown highlights and see for yourself.
The veteran, Mr. Clutch. What else can I say about the Finisher Fisher. I've said it all season long, especially when there were talks about Farmar wanting the starting PG position. Derek Fisher is the team's starting PG, case closed! I know I get many disgreements with this topic but I strongly believe that Fisher has the better defensive muscle and will always throw his body around when his team needs him to. Also, Fisher is clutch. He has proven to us that he can make the big shots over and over again. His signature high arcing shot is a thing of beauty. The stats that are not shown on paper is where Fisher is ranked #1. His hustle play, his heart, his endurance, his physique and his veteran-like instincts is why #2 is #1 in my mind.
Listen, I have nothing against Farmar, I just think he's no Derek Fisher. He definitely holds his own. I like Jordan and his will to alway want to improve and prove to the team that he is no sloucher is what attracts me. Farmar has great defense and can pass the ball around the key. His mid range shooting is where he shines, just like Powell. Farmar is a great backup PG and one day he will get the starting role, just not today. Where Farmar excels is his quickness. He will be the Lakers future tempo setter.