Last season at this point, the Lakers were 22-16, actually one game better than the 21-17 record they have so far in 05-06. That said, how much better do you feel about this yearâ€™s squad?
I have three good reasons for optimism:
1) Last year the Lakers were winning in spite of their defense â€”they were in the bottom 10 in the league in defensive efficiency constantly (and finished second to last). This season the Lakers are ninth, tied with Detroit.
2) Last year the easy part of the schedule was at the front end, this year it gets easier later.
3) The West is not as deep as last year â€” while I expect some teams to turn it on (Denver?), the bottom tier of playoff teams in the West will be flawed squads.
The Lakers are just one turned ankle from being average (at best). But from this point forward last season, the Lakers went 12-32, and you just know Phil Jackson wonâ€™t let that kind of collapse happen.
Andrew Bynum just went up another notch in my estimation of him. Iâ€™m still not sure what heâ€™ll turn out to be in 3-5 years, but he has some fire in him.