The Lakers have officialy lost Andrew Bynum for a minimum of eight weeks and have some tough decisions coming up. Mitch Kupchak has already stated that the team will research all available options and will consider using the available roster spot to sign a free agent that can contribute to the team.
With the team currently tied for the top spot in the Western Conference, tied with Phoenix at 26-11, they must make sure to do whatever possible to maintain the current run. A seven game win streak has gotten them where they are now, and they are heading into the toughest part of their schedule. The Lakers have a few options heading into a tough four game sequence involving the Suns, Nuggets, Mavericks, and Spurs followed by a long nine game road trip throughout the Eastern conference.
The center spot can either be filled by the current two man tag team of Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf, a spot that use to be filled with Brian Cook at some times, who thankfully is no longer with the team. Ronny has played quite decently throughout the season, in a contract year and he has the energy to motivate this team to play. He has a great shot when he faces up to the basket but unfortunately has a very limited post game. If he can play solid defense and make the few shots that he takes, we should be okay. When Ronny decides to foul out, we also have the first overall 2001 draft pick bust of the decade thus far.
Kwame Brown has been having another, well, Kwame Brown like year. Not all that much has changed since his past season besides the fact that the fans are on his case that much more. I’m looking forward to seeing what he will be able to do during this time period but I refuse to make any predictions on his contributions to the team, because I simply don’t know.
The Lakers do have another chance at making a half decent run without the big man. That chance, 1/30, okay, maybe a bit better than that, more like 1/3 or something like that. Chris Webber has come out and said he expects to be on the court within two weeks. He has cut his list of potential destinations down to three teams and a source has said the Detroit Pistons is not one of those. This has to make you wonder, what are those three teams? If i had to predict where Webber ends up I would say it all depends on how much playing time he wants. If he’s looking at some solid playing time he may be interested in the Lakers, Cavs, and Bulls. Could he be interested in simply a championship ring and not much contribution? Would he rather sit on the bench in a Mavericks, Sun, Spurs, or Celtics uniform? I guess we will have to wait to find out what he decides to do, but he is a great option for the Lakers. Webber could potentially be there only back to the basket post up player for the next two months. We’ve seen Bibby and Iverson do what they can with Webber in the middle, lets see what Kobe is capable of.
PJ Brown is also a viable option for the Lakers but I refuse to waste my time thinking about “whats ifs” regarding a basketball player who hasn’t been heard from in almost a year. I personally believe its time everyone lets Brown retire peacefully.
Phil Jackson will surely figure out an interesting way to develop the players he currently has to succeed in the time that Bynum is down, but I must admit, their future frightens me and yet excited me all at the same time. Imagine them staying on track and winning 70% of their games while he is down. Will Kobe finally prove that he is the true league MVP? Will Lamar finally step up? Will Derek Fisher’s presence prove to be really worthwhile? Will Radman finally drill the shots from outside that he is expected to make? Who knows? But here is something we do know, we have Kobe Bryant on the floor wearing our uniform and with that fact alone, we should all feel fairly confident that we will have some success as we travel through the Leastern Conference.