All roads lead to Lakers three-peat.
That being said, basketball is incredibly unpredictable. The Lakers from top to bottom are ridiculously good, but someone or something may stand in their way en route to three-peat glory. If the Lakers are to maintain the O’Brien in Los Angeles for yet another year, they’ll have to keep in mind potential spoilers coming in and raining on their 2011 championship parade.
In an offseason for the ages, a trio representing the crème of the NBA crop now make South Beach their home, a familiar friend—now foe struts around with a shamrock on his back and a future MVP extended his contract to secure his spot as the centerpiece of a team, sure to make headlines in a once prominent Western Conference. Along with some other adversaries, they all vie to knock the champs off their throne.
The Lakers have been here before and have all the motivation in the world to remain on the top spot. In order to sustain their dominance over the NBA, they’ll have to turn the following five bumps into smooth sailing.
We’ll start with the pebbles.
Perimeter shooting: During the first five games of the preseason, the Lakers continued to struggle from downtown, shooting 25 percent (20-of-80). They won the title last season having shot poorly from beyond the arc, but it still remains an area of improvement.
The Bench: If impressions showed up on the box score, it would seem as though last year the Lakers’ bench gave up more points than they actually scored. The addition of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff add depth last year’s “mob” didn’t quite carry throughout the season. How they come together and create cohesiveness as a unit could be significant to L.A.’s title hopes.
San Antonio Spurs: Early exits in the playoffs two years in a row could attribute to fresher legs over the course of the season for the Spurs. They’re still a force, still well coached and have been too quiet for too long.