A Last Look At The Season

Darius Soriano —  June 27, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (R) holds the MVP trophy as Derek Fisher holds the Larry O'Brien championship trophy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California June 17, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Whether or not Phil Jackson decides to return at the end of this week, the Lakers are approaching a time of change. The draft was just completed and the Lakers have selected two players that they hope can make the team and contribute in limited roles next season. The free agency period starts on Thursday (or late Wednesday at midnight) and the Lakers will look to add one or more players to their roster while potentially losing as many as six players from a group of guys that just won its second consecutive championship. Soon after the frenzy of free agency begins, Summer League will take place and then after that there will be a short lull before training camp begins. And before we know it another campaign will get started and the Lakers franchise will be looking to successfully complete a three-peat for the second time in the last decade. So, before the winds of change sweep through this organization and we’re fully engulfed in another season of ups and downs, losses and victories I think we should pay this past season its proper due and take a final look at the year that was.

The One New Face
The big story heading into the 2009-10 season was the one new player that the Lakers picked up: Ron Artest. The story of how the Lakers came to acquire Ron has been told countless times already. There was the meeting in the shower after the 2008 loss to Boston. Then there was the messy negotiation with Trevor Ariza in the attempt to keep the entire championship roster together. And then there was that fateful call to Ron’s agent inquiring about Artest’s potential want to join the team as a role player du jour focusing on defense and a reduced role on offense. Everything came together quickly and the Lakers had themselves a new starting small forward.

But when a player with Artest’s back-story is acquired, there are always questions. Would Ron fit in? Would he be content playing a complimentary role after being a featured player his entire career? Would his penchant to be a ball stopper on offense disrupt his integration into a system that demanded fluidity of ball and player movement? No one knew, but most everyone had a speculative answer that typically tilted towards the glass half empty response. I mean, this was Ron Artest we were talking about.

But what we quickly found out was that Ron was willing to do what was asked of him. He may not have completely changed, but what we witnessed was a hard working player that played every possession on defense like it was his last. And while his integration into the offense was a rocky one all season, he rarely (if ever) went off the reservation with his shot attempts or in his want to contribute within the confines of the scheme. Sure, there were times of forced shots. And yes there were many times where he had to literally be directed to where he should move to or pass the ball. But there was never a lack of trying to fit in from Ron. In fact, throughout his first season Artest almost tried to fit in too much, often passing up open shots and too frequently deferring to Kobe or Fisher or Gasol rather than being assertive with his own offense.

But in the end, Ron found his stride – working relentlessly on defense the entire season and finding redemption in some of the biggest games of his career (and of the Lakers season). His inaugural season will be remembered for his stifling defense on some of the league’s best scorers, a remarkable put back in the Conference Finals, and a post game press conference that could only have occurred after he had one of his best games of the year in a 7th contest to claim the trophy. All in all, the one new face was the one that made a huge difference.

Hampered By Injuries
The other big theme from this season was the injury bug that struck this team. Coming into the year, there were many that thought the Lakers could challenge the Bulls’ single season win record of 72 wins (I wasn’t one of those people, but the thought was a popular one amongst the media). However, in order to win at that clip you need a healthy team. And that is something the Lakers did not have this year.

The list of Lakers’ injuries this past season borders on the comical. Pau’s hamstring strains (on both legs) cost him 17 games. Kobe’s allotment of ailments and injuries included a broken finger on his shooting hand, a badly sprained ankle that was re-aggravated more than once during the year, back spasms, an arthritic knee, and a banged up elbow. All of these conspired to cost Kobe 9 games and render him a fraction of the player he could be in countless others. Andrew Bynum, like Pau, also missed 17 games this season with an injured hip around the all-star break and a strained Achilles tendon at the end of the year. Plus there were the other nicks and bruises including Shannon’s thumb, Ron’s thumb and finger, Odom’s shoulder, and Walton’s back.

Throughout the season the Lakers never seemed to have their full compliment of players healthy and available to play at the same time. But through it all, they persevered. Sure, it cost the Lakers some wins but in the end, these injuries also taught the Lakers that they’d have to endure some hard times on the way to repeating. They’d never have a fully healthy team this year, but the lessons learned in coping with their injuries would play a role in their success during the playoffs. When we saw Kobe fighting through a bad knee early and Bynum dragging his leg around for most of the playoffs, I was reminded that this mentality was spawned through some hard times during the season.

Kobe Heroics
You just read how Kobe gutted out this season while dealing with some pretty tough injuries. I mean, the guy played with a broken/arthritic finger for the majority of the year and found a way to rework his shot and change his release to compensate. And while this season will definitely be remembered for Kobe playing through things that would put other players on the shelf for weeks, the major memories from this year will be of Kobe making game winning shots. Multiple game winning shots. Game winning shots from all angles. Ones of ridiculous difficulty. Against hated rivals. Ones off trademarked shots. Game winners after missing earlier attempts to win. And winners after great play designs. There wasn’t another season that I can remember where a player hit so many shots to win games. Maybe the Lakers shouldn’t have needed Kobe to bail them out so often. I mean, should this team really need a game winner against the Bucks? But, in the end, Kobe delivered in the moments that his team needed him the most and added to the legend of his ability in the clutch. Man, what a season from Mr. Bean.

Late Season (Really, In Season) Struggles
I’ve mentioned it already, but this season could also be defined by severe ups and downs. This team was constructed in a manner – with supreme talent at the top of the roster – to be an all time great. Instead what we saw was inconsistency. Inconsistency in effort and execution. Losing streaks that they hadn’t seen in 3 seasons. The questioning of its leaders’ ability to still get the job done, the mindset of its best players, and whether or not they had the mental fortitude to actually repeat.

Whether we’re talking Fisher, Kobe, Phil, Gasol, Bynum, Farmar, Brown, Artest, or Odom the fans found ways to wonder if this team really had it in them to win. I mean, how many times did we revisit the themes of Fisher’s age and ability, Kobe’s selfishness, Phil’s coaching style, Gasol’s toughness, Bynum’s injury history, etc, etc? Seemingly every other bad performance was pinned on someone new and the level of frustration amongst the fans (and even the players, at times) was palpable.

And the questions only got more pronounced as the regular season came to a close. Kobe was banged up and looking more mortal than ever. Bynum was on the shelf again. The team was losing at a rate that had every fan worried about their playoff prospects and there was a hesitation to even say that the Lakers were the favorites to advance in the Western Conference considering the way that they were playing. If this season’s themes have been laid out in earlier paragraphs, the overall theme of the year (for many) was concern. Did they have enough? I don’t think anyone knew for sure. Yes there were those that had faith, but no one truly knew if this team could pull it out. Only the playoffs would reveal what this team was made of. But honestly, I don’t think any of us would have had it any other way.

The Playoffs & Flipping The Switch
Throughout the regular season I argued against there being a switch the Lakers could flip to turn their game around. And while I still believe that to be true, what this team did have was an ability to re-focus and center themselves on the task at hand. The playoffs proved that through all the adversity, the leadership of this team was strong enough to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction together.

Whether facing the youth and poise of the upstart Thunder, the execution and precision of the Jazz, the fast pace and open court artistry of the Suns, or the physical toughness and lock down defensive schemes of the Celtics, the Lakers responded with strong effort and even better execution to beat the varying styles.

The Lakers showed that they were a team to beat all comers in whatever style was needed. Whether relying on their size up front, the masterful Kobe Bryant, or the steadiness and clutch ability of Fisher, the Lakers found a way. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was nonetheless effective. Over the course of 23 playoff games, the Lakers once again showed that they were the cream of the crop and the deserved champions of the NBA. And the fact that championship #16 came against the hated Celtics in a game 7 that was as physically and mentally taxing as it was made only that much sweeter. Through all the ups and downs, the Lakers were able to dig deep one last time and overcome a 13 point third quarter deficit to pull out the win. The fact that I’m still smiling over a week after the journey ended says it all. Simply put, the Lakers ended the season exactly how they started it – as NBA Champions. It never gets old saying that.

While We Look Ahead, Enjoy What’s Happened
There’s no way of knowing what will happen over the next few weeks. At this point, we don’t know if Phil will return and if he doesn’t who his replacement will be. We don’t know what free agents will be retained or what new players will be added on or after July 1st. And we don’t know if the Lakers draft picks will pan out or if a hidden gem (or the return of a former draft pick) will come out of the Lakers Summer League team.

I don’t have any answers about the future. But we will be here to discuss and cover it all as it unfolds. So, for now all I ask – one last time – is too enjoy what we have experienced. Despite the Lakers winning consecutive championships and participating in three straight Finals, these moments are rare. Us fans are lucky to be able to root for this team and this specific group of players should be celebrated for what they achieved. The journey it took to get to this point was a tremendous experience and I enjoyed it as much as possible. Through all the ups and downs the Lakers came out on top and while nothing is sweeter than the final outcome the path to this point was simply amazing. So, before the changes that are sure to come in the next few weeks sweep through this franchise, join me one last time in celebrating this team and this group. It was a special year and I’m glad that all of you were here with me to enjoy it.

Darius Soriano

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36 responses to A Last Look At The Season

  1. Well said Darius. A truly memorable season.

  2. really it was a season to remember. Its been really fun reading this blog. I dont comment much. But i came here everyday. Thank u darias. Thank u all. I live in bangladesh. A country u guys probably didnt even hear of. Very few people even watch the nba. But i can assure u, those who do watch it are no less passionate about it than you guys. All yr long, this blog provided us with so many good articles. Thank you for that. Thanx to darias, zephid, phillip, kurt nd evry1. U guys made my day. I thank you.

    Lakers for 3peat..

  3. you da man Darius. Keep up the great work.

  4. An awesome, awesome season. My personal favorite of any season I’ve been fortunate to watch.

    I was one of those guys who immediately thought Artest for Ariza was a huge upgrade. It’s not that I didn’t like Ariza, it’s just that I knew Artest was a lot tougher and a much better defender. I didn’t really understand throughout the year when article after article was declaring that Artest had somehow killed the team’s offense, or was going to melt down at any moment. It just didn’t look that way to me. For the season, his averages were pretty close to Ariza’s and he shot a better % from 3. It got ugly in the playoffs, but between that game 5 putback in the WCF and his monster game 7 he more than redeemed himself. I’m way excited about what we may see from him next year.

    And this one was huge for Gasol too–the toughness questions were there all over again, and he stuffed them down KG’s throat in the 4th quarter of game 7.

  5. Love it, Darius! I for one, am totally basking in this NBA championship. I don’t even want to begin speculating on next season on who we’ll have or who will retire. I’m reveling in the 2010 NBA championship by these Los Angeles Lakers!

    I was Chicken Little, thinking that the championship was slipping away after every loss in the playoffs.

    Thank you FB&G for an opportunity to vent, cheer and celebrate during and after games!

    The refrigerator door is shut!

  6. mikeinchitown June 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Ditto- after such a tough and drama filled season, it’s great to look back at the journey that brought us here.

    BTW seems like our offseasons are always eventful. Ariza/Odom angst last year, PJ this year. Guess that’s what happens when the stakes are high as defending champs. No complaints, right?

  7. its funny how many teams are trying to get to the point where our team is right now.

    miami, chicago, new york and the nets are basically going after the same FA´s and can only hope that the last couple years of tanking are going to pay off. best case scenario for any team is getting lebron and bosh and then trying to get a couple of other decent players.

    except for chicago, i highly doubt that any of those teams can get a squad together that would be strong enough to get a title in the first year.

    what other teams are trying to build, we already have: two max-players in kobe and pau, a young center that could be an allstar on almost any other team (if he´d stay healthy), a lockdown defender that can create a shot if needed and one of the best and most versatile forwards in the nba as a 6th man.
    all our core guys have a contract for the next couple of years and will be FA´s at the same time.

    the future (hopefully) looks like this: we compete for a couple more years, get a couple more rings and then our franchise can sign whoever they want because we will have tons of capspace… isnt that awesome?

    if any of the teams that are currently trying to get rid of contracts had the possibility to be in our shoes, they would do it in a heartbeat. all of them would rather have what we have now instead of “hoping” that lebron signs with them.

    we have the right city, one of the biggest markets, the best fans and the most amazing cheerleaders… we are truly lucky to be in this position for the next couple of years ;) .

    oh, and if phil stays, we also have the best coach ever… think about how sweet that is

  8. Thanks Darius for the rundown of the year. Truly a memorable one for so many reasons (not least for me was getting to see my 2nd Laker game in person, almost 13 years after the first). The buzzer-beaters, the injuries, a new SF, and the ultimate redemption for Artest, and then the team as a whole against the Celtics. I’m not sure it gets much better.

    Here’s to another one this time next year!

  9. This season was such a fun journey. Thanks for the insight and analysis from all the contributors.

    There was so much drama but that’s what makes it sweeter when everything paid off.

    The eggs are cooling and the butter’s getting hard and this season’s jello is jiggling.

  10. 2 – Hi Asif – I think most of us on this forum have heard of Bangladesh!

    It’s very cool that there are NBA fans in Bangladesh, even if not many. It never occured to me that might be so. I’m guessing Cricket and Soccer are both very big there.

  11. Fantastic commentary on a breathtaking season. Good job, FB&G!

  12. The saddest part about this season is that, in a few years, not many are gonna remember that Kobe played through so many injuries en route to getting his 5th championship.

    They’ll remember game 7, they’ll remember OKC series before he got his knee drained, but not really the amount of injuries he had to fight through, not being able to hold on to the ball without support.

    What saddens me more is that even I might forget this…

  13. Darius and other people here who’ve watched more Lakers this season than I:

    (I did watch several games, but at times it seemed the Lakers played better when I wasn’t watching them, so… :) )

    Until the controvertible proof of game 7, it certainly seemed like most of the media were going to hew pretty closely to their talking points of how Artest was a big gamble that was inevitably going to sink the Lakers. Certainly we all saw how they latched on to the non-story that was Twittergate as proof for their ‘Artest is crazy’ narrative. And Ron-Ron’s bad 3 pt shooting certainly didn’t help his cause, to be perfectly fair.

    Still, we all saw (even if Bill Plaschke didn’t) how we became an elite defensive team with Ron-Ron added to the mix. Clearly he improved us as a defensive unit. Would you guys say that the improvement was more manifest in his individual defense (vs. Ariza’s) or more his effect on his teammates’ defensive efforts?

  14. 29.JeremyLA24 wrote on June 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    I’m just not ready to move on from this Championship season. I feel like it was just yesterday all us FB&G’ers were scared out of our minds that we ended the season in a loss to the Clippers. Not to mention that terrible losing streak we were had in March and April… Now, here we are talking about legacies, parades, and one of the most fulfilling Post season runs I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. I mean honestly, how many people have lost memory of Kobe’s brilliant performance against the Suns enroute to our 05?-06? revenge and a triumphent butt pat to Al Gentry. I understand, that’s what happens when you go 7 games in the finals against Baastan.

    Unfortunately it seems that the media and fans are all of a few moments away from calling our 2010 championship yesterday’s news. Before we start talking about all that fun off season stuff (you know, aquiring Lebron with the MLE and all,) I’d love to see a seaon recap post

    Kobe’s on slaught of game winners, injuries, losses to major teams, Artest going from best 3pt shooter on our team to the worst, etc… Plenty of substance but Just a suggestion.
    _____________________________________

    Thanks for granting the wish Darius.

  15. 10- you are right. Cricket and soccer are really very big here. Basketball is far behind. NBA fans are very few but they are on the rise. So that’s a good thing.

    10-12 years ago very few games were on tv. some lakers/bulls games of the season, the all star game and the nba finals. But over the years the situation has improved. We get to see 15-20 regular season laker games and the whole playoffs. If the game is broadcasted more, there would be a lot more fans here.

  16. I know it might make me a bad person to take so much pleasure in another person’s misery, but this Youtube clip of a Lakers fan taunting Bill Simmons before, during and after our game 7 triumph makes me cackle like the Joker every time. Enjoy. The best part: watching him brush the confetti off his laptop…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgoV5u2WWJs

  17. Thanks for sharing the season with me everyone. A few brief thoughts.

    1. The playoffs really unfolded perfectly for the Lakers to get up to speed, like a well designed video game. Any other sequence of foes wouldn’t have prepped them so well for the finals. First OKC presented strong defense and a super 3. Second, UTA presented skilled offensive exectution. Third, PHX presented pick and roll with a zone. Finally, BOS was the boss level, presenting all the previous powers in one bullying package.

    2. I am proud to say I am one of the earliest members of the Artest bandwagon (look up the archives!). On the other hand, I really thought the Cavs would put up a better fight.

    3. Another two highlights of the season, a bit overshadowed now, are:

    - the Hakeem-hot-rodding of Kobe’s post game. A thing of beauty.
    - great stretch where the team almost pulled off 5-0 without Kobe, probably giving Kobe key clues about how to use his teammates.

    Here’s to ann interesting off-season. I hope Phil comes back, but what can he prove at this point?

  18. Every championship season is special, but this one was one of the greatest. I just love how deep everyone dug to make it happen. Still savoring the long road to here, a week and a half after game 7.

  19. @DB 16 that’s hilarious always love some laughs at bill simmons expense

    @harold 12 i don’t think i’ll remember anything about kobe other that he won his fifth ring and cemented his legacy as one of the great lakers and players of all time.

  20. I watched Magic Johnson swished in the baby hook against the Celtics back in 1987, and become a fan of Lakers for life. To me this season, the way it ended by beating the hated Celtics was just perfect. And because of the ending, it makes the process in retrospect all that much sweeter. The Lakers happen to have strong and distinguishable characters amongst the players.

    Kobe – synonymous to will and determination; playing through injuries, adversity, and frequent media bashing

    Gasol – Intelligent and humble (you wonder why people place a tag on him as being soft)

    Ron – Crazy and wild; ultimately he proved himself to be funny and personable

    Lamar – handsome and charming; which is why he sometimes play without the intensity and focus

    Fisher – honest and respectful; he is a statesman amongst his peers

    Phil – Wise and calculative; his success is a by-product of his perspective in life

    This is why it has been so fun to watch the Lakers. They are genuine characters, not manufactured by media hype. Their true entertainment value is built by their personal endeavors and struggles, not by clownish act on the court, and dumb trash talking in front of press.

    This is great time to be a Lakers fan. This team is far more fun to watch than the 3-peat team back in 2000.

    My wish for next season is to see these unique characters of Lakers beat up a LeBron-led with Shaq-latched team of clowns and win the Championship for three-peat. The Lakers with character of determination, intelligence, wisdom, and honesty will win against those of opportunism, manipulation, hypocrisy and laziness. That is the ultimate justice.

    Go Lakers! And thank you Darius for a great season of coverage.

  21. Great summary of the season – it’s easy to overlook how many hardships were overcome, especially by Kobe, just because he was able to adjust so effectively to having so many injuries.

    Also, Shannon is definitely going to opt out of his contract (big surprise): http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-0628-lakers-shannon-brown-20100628,0,2653626.story

  22. I must say, this seasons holds a special place for me. To be the first team to ever beat the Celtics in a game 7 not only cements this teams place in history but makes it instantly memorable/classic. This was one for the ages.

    @12 as for Kobe’s injuries, I actually think that time will shed more light on them rather than having that memory fade simply because of the wrapping around his finger (I think it’s almost iconic). The man is playing with a broken index finger on his shooting hand, it’s unreal when you think about it.

    Finally, I’d like to thanks Darius, Kurt and all the contributors that have made and continue to make this site great. I’ve been reading for a few years now and I can’t tell you guys how much I’ve enjoyed and learned from all your posts. It truly is a pleasure to have a community as unique and knowledgeable as this. Here’s to the great season behind us and the promise of another ahead.

    Go Lakers!

  23. @16. That was awesome. It’s funny, but whenever Simmons denigrates Kobe’s performance in the Finals, he’s undercutting his favorite team’s stellar defense. The Celtic D was designed to stop Kobe, and make the other Lakers beat them.

    @21. I wish Shannon the best. He was certainly fun to watch these past two championship seasons, and he’s a great teammate and hard worker by all accounts.

  24. if lebron and bosh both do go to Chicago (http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nba/news/story?id=5333896), and phil retires, I guess Chicago is scary and will be favorite to win the NBA champion in the next few years.

  25. The season was perfect. Beating the Celts in seven was just the icing on the cake. Thanks guys, you are the best. Darius, Zephid, Kurt and the other contributors like The Dude, Warren and JeremyLA24 made this the place to be for true LA Lakers insight. We may not always be right, but we are always willing to say our piece. Thanks Lakers for giving us something to talk about.

  26. Thank you Darius for a great summary of a great season, and thank you even more for keeping this place running!

    Thanks everyone else who kept coming here every day for Lakers news and chit-chat. I’ll be scarce for the next few months, since I tend to become distracted by various shiny objects in the off-season but I will most certainly be back for the pre-season and of course in time for the ring ceremony.

    Have a great summer everyone! :)

  27. My gripe is that this is the only place that is still talking about the 2 week-old champions. The media went right back to Lebron and the FA market.

    If the Celtics had won that series they would still be showing Paul Pierce crying, Kevin Garnett screaming nonsense and Doc Rivers smoking a cigar.

    Also, they would be talking about the blemish on Kobe and Phil’s careers. Instead, to me, the sentiment is, “Well we lost another one to the Lakers. They buy championships anyway. Let talk about Lebrat some more.” Maybe I’m just a major homer but I’d like to read some more stories about where Kobe now stands on the all-time list.

  28. Thanks Darius for a great post, and a great year. It wasn’t just a crazy year for us following the Lakers, but following Laker blogs as well. We already had the best bloggers out there, from all over, but with you stepping up, Kurt starting up PBT, ESPNLA, a much more active Lakers official blog… No one missed a beat and coverage is better than ever.

    So thanks for keeping the Lake Show in perspective, thanks to the regular commenters, and thanks to all the vets and new guys who have stepped up with posts this year, from Zephid and Gatinho to Phillip and Jeff!

  29. Thanks for all the kind words. But understand that it’s all of you that make this site great. We try to provide strong content, but it’s the community that sparks conversation and debate and gives us all ideas to discuss in more depth.

    Also know that we’re going to keep it going during the off-season. We’ve had the draft, but free agency starts this week, and then we’ll have summer league coverage as well. Not to mention a slew of other topics covered. So, we hope that all of you will continue to join us in following the Lakers.

  30. Great recap on a great a memorable season.

    There will be plenty to talk about during the off season and which teams will be in position to challenge the NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers, Lakers player additions/subtraction and Kobe’s and Bynum’s surgeries

    Keep up the great work

  31. @27 I hear similar sentiments living in the Pacific Northwest where the Lakers are hated with a passion. Never hear folks talking about how the Celtics bought their team by taking Ray Allen away from the (then Sonics) and getting KG…

    I also hear people refusing to admit Kobe is an obvious choice for top-10 player, if not top-5. I think he is top-5 because he is one of only 4 players in history to have won 5 titles and 2 finals MVPs (Jordan, Magic, Kareem). He is also 1 of only 3 players to have at least 4 titles, 2 finals mvps, 8x all-nba first team, and 8x all defensive first team (Jordan, Duncan).

    People like to discredit the first 3 titles saying he wasn’t the man, but he was more like option 1A after Shaq. He was certainly no Pippen as he was to Jordan, as Kobe averaged close to 29 ppg, 7 rpg, and 6 apg in 2001 and 2002–very Jordan-like numbers. And when Shaq fouled out in game 4 against the Pacers in 2000, it was Kobe who won the game for LA.

    When you look at all-around game: scoring, shooting, defense, playmaking, leadership, rings, clutch, I don’t think anyone outside of Jordan, Magic, and Kareem were better all-around players.

  32. I have to say this was truly a great season. I have an appreciation for this championship more than any I have witnessed as a fan. Back when Kobe and Shaq were wrecking havoc I was only 12 years old. I could not really appreciate what those Lakers teams were doing. I am a big Dallas Cowboys fan and the last time they won the superbowl I was only 8 years old. So I could not really appreciate that championship. I am also a big Duke fan as well. So I have had a pretty good year in terms of being a basketball fan, but there was nothing like THIS LAKERS TEAM. They fought hard all year and we as fans starting doubting them, they hung together and showed why they are the BEST team on this planet. Unless, there are some Monstars on a different planet, this is the best basketball team in the universe. And sorry Lebron fans, we also have the best player in the Universe. And I have a strange feeling that this team will even be better next season, and Mr. Bryant at the age of 32 will have his best season EVER. But as Darius so beautifully stated, lets appreciate this year and worry about next year when it arrives.

    Thank you ForumandGold for you insight into the game I love.

  33. I’m in the northwest myself, and boy do they hate the lakers, and more specifically kobe here. loading the sonics doesn’t help the cause. anyhow, great article. this was a season to remember. I finally hot to go to my first game in la with the home crowd (unfortunately it was when billups blew up). still we couldn’t adored tix when I lived in la for the forum. now I have to go to portland twice a year to watch them. but it was awesome this year. it doesn’t get brr than game 7@staples against boston. to to it off, we come back from 13 down for#16…..yeeeeeeah

  34. Maybe I’m just a major homer but I’d like to read some more stories about where Kobe now stands on the all-time list.

    ___

    You will get more of that next year, when Kobe is going for #6 (Can he match Michael etc etc) and the team is trying for a threepeat. The current FA market is unprecendented and is a huge story. The Lakers winning another title is–thankfully–a common event.

  35. Thank you Darius and Forum Blue And Gold for the great articles… from breaking down offensive and defensive schemes (both Lakers and opponents) to great insights about everything basketball – well done all year long!