Around the Association: 2009-2010 Los Angeles Lakers: Big Brother, Little Brother

After a championship season, for the fans, it's nice when the big offseason question is whether it's more likely that the Lakers will win 70 games or a championship. Us Warrior fans are wondering if the Warriors will win 70 games in TWO seasons and even thinking about a championship is out of the question. For the franchise, the big offseason news wasn't Lamar Odom's empty threat of leaving or Trevor Ariza wanting too much money, it was Ron Artest, crazy Ron Artest, making his way to the city of angels. I imagine this going to be a season in which the big brother, Kobe, has to show his little brother, Ron Ron, the ropes and keep him under control. When I think of LA, the first thing I think of is traffic. Then I think of the Dodgers and Lakers, which makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. And then I think of Hollywood. Hopefully for the rest of the league, Ron Artest will mix some real Hollywood drama into that Lakers' franchise.

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Offseason Additions
VIA FREE AGENCY
Ron Artest (from Houston)
Shannon Brown (re-signed)

VIA DRAFT
Chinemelu Elonu (No. 59)

Offseason Subtractions
VIA FREE AGENCY
Trevor Ariza (to Houston)

WAIVED
Sun Yue

 

There are just 2 things that could derail the Lakers' path to consecutive championships, Ron Artest or an injury to either Gasol or Kobe.

1) Ron Artest
The Lakers might have been favored to win the championship even without adding Ron Artest, but they needed some more insurance after losing Ariza and the top contenders becoming stronger. The Cavaliers added Shaq. The Celtics added Rasheed. The Magic swapped Hedo for Vince and also get their All-Star PG, Jameer Nelson back from injury. The Spurs added Richard Jefferson and get Manu Ginobili back from injury.

Many question the Artest signing since he's been known to be a hothead and cause trouble. If he gets out of control both on and off the court, the Lakers will be in trouble. On the court, he's lost a step (maybe a half-step) defensively but he's still a top-notch defender. Offensively, he usually doesn't play within the team's game plan unless that game plan is for him to take ill-advised 3's in crucial playoff moments, pound the ball in the post in an attempt to back his man down, and not move the ball around.

With 2 strong leaders in Phil Jackson and Kobe along with Artest's desire to win a championship, I don't expect any drama to happen. Kobe's going to play the role of big brother this season to his little brother Ron. He'll make sure Ron stays in line, plays within the system and doesn't blow up. You know, he'll do the thing that good big brothers do to help their little brothers succeed. Ron Artest will make the Lakers a better team.

 

Just a little bit of the craziness.
"I don't want Kobe to be on my ass. Kobe's real competitive. I ain't trying to get in trouble."

 

 

2) An injury to Kobe or Gasol?
I don't think it matters if any of the other players get hurt. Bynum, Odom, Walton, Farmar or Artest could get injured and the Lakers could still win the championship. As long as both Kobe and Gasol are on the court, the Lakers have as good a chance as anyone to win it all. Both players make the other ones on their team better so no matter who you throw in there next to them, the team will do just fine. As long as the Lakers can avoid injuries to both Kobe and Gasol, expect to see a repeat.

 

One way Kobe could get hurt...

 

 

Check out more Lakers coverage over at Silver Screen and Roll.
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