However, I have failed to mention one free agent is particularly important. Derek Fisher.
If the Lakers want to win the NBA Championship again next season they will need to bring back Derek Fisher. Failure to do so could very well have a two-pronged, negative effect. Not only will the Lakers lose their championship guard, there is a strong likelihood that Fisher could wind up in Miami with Wade, James, and Bosh. This would be a sore sight for Laker fans, and would certainly spell trouble in a potential Finals collision.
As I mentioned earlier, the Lakers do have several advantages against this stacked Miami team. Perhaps the biggest and most important is their head coach. Phil Jackson is the most decorated head coach in NBA history. Erik Spoelstra hasn’t made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Phil Jackson has won 225 playoff games. Erik Spoelstra has won 4.
Clearly the Lakers have the edge in this particular facet of the game. The problem that may arise out of all of this is the ever-lurking Pat Riley. While currently twiddling his thumbs in the executive offices of the American Airlines Arena, Riley has been surrounded by much media speculation concerning his potential return to the coaching ranks.
If this was to happen, and Riley was to step back into the head coach position for Miami, much of the edge the Lakers currently have in coaching would be gone. While Jackson is still a more decorated coach than Riley, both are Hall of Fame coaches that know how to handle a NBA roster at the highest level. Don’t forget, Riley has won 5 championships as a head coach in the NBA.
Another spot where the Lakers may have an edge over the Heat is the center position. While it is yet to be seen who Miami will bring in to take up space in the paint, the Lakers already have an established ‘Twin Tower’ duo with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The key for Bynum, as has been the past several years, will be health.
If the Lakers have a healthy Bynum/Gasol combo they should be able to give the Miami front-court some trouble. Even with Bosh and another starting center, the odds are in favor of the Lakers more-established big men.
Next: The Lord of the Rings…