As ridiculous as it sounds, you don’t need a good passing point guard to win an NBA championship. In the past two decades, no NBA team has won a championship where the best player on the team was their point guard, minus the 2004 Pistons once again. Having a good playmaker helps your team win, but it’s not a necessity. It’s crucial you have a couple good passers on your team. Larry Bird wasn’t a point guard, but he was the best passer on his team.
For the Lakers, the team as a whole is full of good passers. Pau Gasol’s the best-passing big man in the league, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton are great passers at their positions, and the rest of the team are average and above passers (other than Andrew Bynum, who would be slightly below average, and Kobe Bryant when he’s on KILL mode.)
You also need a couple good shooters on your team. You don’t need an All-Star shooter like Ray Allen to win a championship, but you do need Steve Kerr, Bruce Bowen, Derek Fisher, type players. You need at least one or two players that can shoot the ball well consistently and make three point shots in the playoffs.
You need someone you can kick the ball out to and will knock down big shots. Every team in the NBA could use a designated shooter. In fact, every team in the NBA could use better shooters in general. It’s no secret that shooters spread the floor, create points in bunches, and destroy zone defenses. The Lakers have typically fulfilled this requirement by committee. Derek Fisher has led the way these past few years, with cameo appearances by Trevor Ariza, “The Machine”, and at times last year, Ron Artest.
Just as important as having good passers and shooters, you need at least one player that can penetrate the other teams’ defenses. Not only do they score easy buckets close to the basket, they cause foul trouble, collapse defenses, and create scoring opportunities for other players (which is why it’s even better if this guy’s a good and able passer.)
For the Lakers, this role has usually been fulfilled by Kobe Bryant. As his body has aged and his game has expanded, Kobe often settles for midrange jumpers (sometimes of the ridiculous variety). Kobe still qualifies as one of the best penetrators in the league, and he can be counted on to break down the other team’s defense when necessary.
Next: Perimeter Defenders/Stoppers