10. For the first time since the opening of Staples and the sharing of one arena by the Lakers and Clippers, it is the Clippers who will be the more exciting and interesting, and perhaps better, team, and the Lakers will not like it and will not react well.
9. The new coach has indicated his desire to focus the offense on feeding the big men, Bynum and Gasol. For years, the Lakers’ offense has been guard oriented with Kobe, Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown maintaining if not ball control, then control of the ball, and a focus, to the team’s detriment last season, on long range shots, to a great extent with the likes of Ron Free World etc etc,, Matt Barnes, and Brown. The team makeup this season will be much different (read on for much of that) and outside shooting should be greatly improved. But the coach says pass the ball inside, and he probably expects to actually see it happen.
8. Lack of depth at the power positions. Trading Lamar Odom for no replacement player leaves a giant void at a vulnerable spot. Bynum starts the season serving a five-game suspension, and you know he’ll miss more time with injuries. Pau Gasol and Josh McRoberts will need to both play big minutes and we all saw how well a tired-out Gasol played in last year’s playoffs. The injury to Derrick Caracter hurts and they need him back.
7. Following up from No. 8, they have a log jam at small forward. See No. 5. Matt Barnes is now the starter, and backing him up are Ron Free World etc etc, Luke Walton, and Devin Ebanks, as well as Jason Kapono, who will play behind Kobe at shooting guard, but who should be at the small forward spot. Those numbers will diminish as the season goes on. See No. 5. But they may be forced to use Barnes and Ebanks at a power spot more than once. Gerald Green is also there, for now, but I don’t expect him to make the final cut, though he could be back if Ron Free World etc etc goes bye bye.
6. With the Chris Paul trade a thin memory, they go into the season with 37-year-old Derek Fisher mentally worn out from weeks of CBA negotiations, and Steve Blake, coming off a very disappointing season, as the point guards. Little defense, erratic outside shooting, and age here will bring down the entire team. Whether it was Paul, J.J. Barea, Mike Bibby, Chauncy Billups, or anyone else whose name begins with “B”, this was the position they needed to upgrade this season.
5. Ron Free World Pile-of-Crap Artest does not take well to turmoil and his two-year honeymoon is now over, even if he were still the starter at small forward, which he is not. Expect him to have a couple of explosions, several disagreements with the coaching staff, and likely spend a night or two in jail. He might be gone before the end of the short season.
4. Ownership turnover. Jerry Buss is having health problems and his only concerns involving sports these days seem to be with his beloved trojan brain surgeons. Son Jim appears to be the guy in charge now, and the chances of that working out are slim. The Lakers glory days of competent rule from the top are just about over.
3. Kobe’s professional life is in disarray with a coaching change, no Lamar Odom, and the public humiliation of the Lakers’ aborted trade attempts. That pales in comparison to his personal life with his marriage breakup and divorce now on public display. Several LA sportswriters who cover the Lakers predict he may ask for a trade.
2. Re-read number three.
1. Mike Brown is the head coach, not Phil Jackson. Get ready for a redux of all those great Dell Harris years.