The Killer B’s Continue To Sting The Opposition
Los Angeles Lakers' Matt Barnes arrives for the basketball team's media day at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, California on September 25, 2010. The Lakers will try to three-peat this season after winning back-to-back NBA championship titles. UPI/Jim Ruymen Photo via Newscom

Kobe’s a smart dude.  He understands the importance of having someone like Barnes on your team. Someone to provide constant activity.  Someone who gets under the skin of the best player on the other team.  Artest is a great player but he’s not a real offensive threat.  Barnes can provide the same type of tenacious defense while being more efficient on the offensive end– especially in the open court. (I can’t help but cringe every time Artest gets the ball on the break with one or two defenders back.  Chances are he’s picking up his dribble just inside the three point line, barreling to the left and chucking up an out-of-control layup that bounces off the glass and misses the rim entirely).

Adding Barnes also adds another fierce competitor into the mix, the type of guy you need in May and June.   I can picture Barnes and Artest battling in practice, constantly escalating the intensity and sucking the rest of the team into the competitive vortex.  

I’m hesitant to ask this question and risk further jinxing the terracotta knees of Andruw Bynum, but I think it needs to be addressed:  What happens when Drew comes back, which is reportedly tonight in Washington?  Odom is possibly playing the best ball of his career, coming off a summer as the emotional Leader of Team USA, instead of his usual summer routine of lying around bingeing on Sour Patch Kids. He looks great.  He’s attacking the basket, dropping Pau off for easy buckets and getting good elevation on his jump shot.  When Bynum comes back and Odom settles back into his sixth man role, the Lakers will be able to roll out a second unit of Blake, Brown, Barnes, Odom and Caracter.  Three of those guys would start on 90% of NBA teams right now.  Dyan Cannon isn’t the only scary person sitting on the sidelines in Staples anymore.  

Next: Accepting Your Role

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