In the off season the Lakers quietly built around their second unit, especially in the expected absence of Lamar Odom. They added a young quick guard in Darius Morris, a strong finisher in Josh McRoberts, a sharp shooting Jason Kapono and another [big man] sharp shooter in Troy Murphy. A once questioned Lakers bench now seemed to have gotten a renewed sense of hope coming into the shortened 66-game season.
All of these moves executed stealthily in the background while the organization was being scrutinized for their off season dramatics involving the highly publicized disqualification of the CP3 trade, losing LO per his request and the reawakened trade rumors for Howard. NBA predictions have Lamar ending this season with all-time career lows in Dallas.
Thanks to the high energy exhibited by L.A.'s second string players early on in the season, particularly with World Peace's hot start and McRoberts playing well as a starter/reserve, this Lakers bench became a quick fan favorite.
So what is the best part of becoming a fan favorite you ask? Becoming a fan favorite with a cool nickname. While many argued that it was too soon for the bench to be nicknamed, fans were determined to come up with a cool handle, something catchy but not cheesy. Last season it was the Killer B's fueled by the performances of Barnes, Blake, and Brown, this season it's the Peace Corps.
You can thank LakersNation.com for the adaptation. They started the process by using their Facebook page platform asking their near 300,000 fans what would be a cool nickname for the Lakers second unit. This my friends is the power of movement driven by the fans.
Having a nickname comes the responsibility of upholding it. Just as fast as Peace Corps gained it's popularity among the sports world, a new nickname was blossoming. Peace Corps quickly became Peace Corpse all thanks to the bench not producing as well as expected. Maybe those skeptics were right, apparently it was way too soon to adopt an unworthy nickname.
Many experts and analysts say the Lakers weakness lies in the teams fourth option. Meaning the team needs someone other than the Lakers big three, Kobe, Gasol and Bynum to produce. All fingers point to Derek and Barnes.
I say the fingers should point to the Peace Corpse. Lakers have lost 3 of their last 5 games. Let's break down the bench contribution from those games:
- January 13th - Lakers host the Cavaliers - WIN
- Lakers bench scores 4 points vs. Cleveland bench scoring 36 (advantage Cleveland)
- January 14th - Lakers visit the Clippers (technically host) - LOSS
- Lakers bench scores 13 vs. Clippers bench scoring 11 (advantage LAL)
- January 16th - Lakers host the Mav's - WIN
- Lakers bench scores 12 vs. Dallas bench scoring 32 (advantage Dallas)
- January 19th - Lakers visit the Heat - LOSS
- Lakers bench scores 17 vs. Miami bench scoring 24 (advantage Miami)
- January 20th - Lakesr visit the Magic - LOSS
- Lakers bench scores 12 vs. Orlando bench scoring 14 (advantage Orlando)
You can say that the recent Laker losses came in the hands of poor team shooting, Kobe shooting too much, and/or the void coming from the 1 and 3 spots. These all may very well be factors to the Lakers not being able to compete with the leagues elite teams but you cannot ignore the disappearing act of the Peace Corps. They need to be the teams fourth option in the pecking order. Obviously L.A. cannot rely on Barnes or Fisher to put up game changing numbers so the reserves have to perform well when Brown waves them in.
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