Weakness Turned Strength: The ‘Renegades’

Written by: Ryan Regan

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts on the bench next to Ron Artest (L) after teammate Shannon Brown scored a three-pointer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles, November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


Remember when you used to dread that time around the 2-3 minute mark of the 1st quarter? You’d think, ‘Well, our bench will lose the next 5 minutes by 6 or 8 points and the starters will just win it back’. Your eyes would keep wandering back to the clock, anxiously waiting for Phil Jackson to call Kobe, Pau & Co. back into the game. Sure, Sasha and Shannon would come up big every 3 games or so but the consistency clearly wasn’t there. Well, those days are over.

With several big names switching jerseys in the most memorable NBA offseason ever, the Lakers quietly reloaded with key acquisitions of their own.

The Lakers knew what they were getting with Matt Barnes. Nothing spectacular on the offensive side of the ball (career 7 points and 4 rebounds a game), but just a scrappy defensive annoyance. It’s early in the season but so far he has shown he fits in well with the triangle by putting up nearly 10 points and 7 rebounds a game while doing his thing on the defensive end.

Barnes brings all the same energy Sasha brought off the bench plus actual productivity. And while we all loved The Machine, let’s be honest: Much like when Artest or Fisher lets one fly from long range, we’d always cringe when Sasha came off a screen to take one of his ‘in rhythm’ shots. Barnes’ points are, for the most part, garbage points. And I mean that as a compliment.

Next: Addition by Subtraction…and Addition

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