It’s not always easy to keep perspective. Like when the 410 lb. orca whale purchasing $30-worth of Burger King for himself double-checks with the cashier that the soda he was served is Diet. But we here at Razzball know how difficult maintaining perspective can be, especially when you’re drunk and trying to sketch moving objects. So from now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 2010 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each NBA team in hopes of painting a clearer fantasy picture. Who’s starting over who? Who might surprise you and who might make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge in a few months. Enjoy! Next up - The Los Angeles Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers are still the team to beat in the NBA and it is never good to give Mamba extra motivation, but that is what the next great American boy band did.*
Kobe won the title, went to the World Cup, kept hearing/ignoring rumors while in Africa, then came back home to see the gaudy monstrosity that is the Miami Heat. Kobe then cut his off-season short, did the wolverine face, and started working tirelessly to make LeBron look like a clown. Kobe rarely fails when provided with a great supporting cast and that is exactly what he will have in 2011.
This is perhaps the best Lakers team Kobe has ever played with, as LAL features a real starting PG (not one who can do the impossible fantasy line while playing 36 minutes), a roster where Sasha Vujacic is considered the 10th man and not the 6th man, 2 body guards (Ron Artest and Matt Barnes), and Luke Walton should not see significant minutes.
The Lakers’ core is nearly indestructible with Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Artest, and now Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. Shannon Brown will keep the crowd involved and is becoming a better defender than anything. Andrew Bynum’s injury makes them a little thin up front, but we will get to him in a second, and it looks like Theo Ratliff is the new D.J. Mbenga.
Gained: Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff
Lost: DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell
PG – Steve Blake, Derek Fisher
SG – Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic
SF – Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, Luke Walton
PF – Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom
C – Andrew Bynum, Theo Ratliff
D-Leaguers – Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter
3 Concerns Heading Into The Season:
1. Can we get Andrew Bynum’s knee fluid to play basketball since Bynum doesn’t seem to want to?
If you think Andrew Bynum is a headache for fantasy owners, think about how much Lakers management is frustrated with him. Bynum will miss the beginning of the regular season because he delayed surgery to go to the World Cup, but Phil Jackson said he encouraged Bynum to attend. Huh? Bynum will never play over 80 games in a season during his career and has a ridiculous contract at $13 million per season, although only two years remain on the deal. He has consistently proved you cannot rely on him as a big time fantasy player, and this season is no different.
2. How will Steve Blake play?
Honestly? I think Blake is a perfect PG for the Lakers and will maximize his limited fantasy ability. Blake will get TONS of assists this season and should average well over six APG, while scoring nearly eight PPG, with some steals, rebounds, and should take a lot of wide open jumpers, which means good shooting percentages. Blake is always on the waiver wire and has played for garbage teams nearly his entire career, so it is safe to say S-Beezy jumped at the opportunity when he heard the Lakers were interested in his talents.
3. How are Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, and Kobe Bryant going to co-exist?
I don’t know, but it should be a fun soap opera to watch. I am looking forward to hearing about Ron, Matty, and Mamba getting into fist-fights in practice.
BONUS! Where Lamar-t thou, Odom?
Lamar Odom averaged 7/6 against the Celtics in the Finals. This has nothing to do with fantasy but LO needs to have a better NBA Finals than that if you want to beat the Heat.
Fantasy disappointment: Ron Artest. His contract is waaaay too long, and they would have been better off with Trevor Ariza for the same price. Yes, I just went there, Laker fans. Ron Ron, aka Queens Bridge, is rapidly aging and he is lucky he made two game-winning shots in the post-season, otherwise he would be toast in LA LA Land. Artest had a decent season at 11 PPG, three APG, four RPG, and nearly 1.5 SPG, but his role will be slightly diminished with Matt Barnes in Laker land, and with Steve Blake taking away some of his overall production. We advise you to stay away from Artest in fantasy and in real life.
Biggest fantasy contributer: Kobe – duh. But take a long hard look Steve Blake as a big time fantasy sleeper.
*We’re taking suggestions for nicknames for the Heat.