The Lakers are deeper and better than ever By Jonathan Khamis for California Life!
The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a blistering start.
The back-to-back defending champs are 8-1, and are off to their best start since the 1997-98 team that went 11-0.
The early season success can be attributed to the new and improved Lakers bench: “The Killer B’s.”
Free agent additions Steve Blake and Matt Barnes have infused new life and energy to the purple and gold.
Blake has been a perfect addition to the Lakers patient triangle offense. He’s a deadly three-point shooter (50% 3PT FG) who can stretch the floor, and looks to pass first.
Barnes is the Lakers’ energizer bunny. The guy never stops moving.
The former UCLA product is averaging nearly six rebounds, while playing only 20 minutes per game.
By the way, both these guys are as tough as they come.
Youtube Steve Blake and Matt Barnes and you’ll find them involved in numerous scuffles. Blake once went toe-to-toe with the two-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, while Barnes wasn’t afraid to get inside Kobe Bryant’s face last year.
The final ‘B’ off the Lakers bench is Shannon Brown.
While “Shan-Wow” earned his nickname by thrilling Lakers fans with his high flying dunks, Brown came into this season wanting to be more than just a dunker.
His work in the summer paid off.
He’s averaging 10 points per game, while shooting well above his career averages.
As scary as the Lakers’ bench is right now, they only stand to get better.
Lamar Odom stands to go back to the pine once Andrew Bynum returns. Odom, has been one of the most improved players in the NBA this year, after helping Team USA win the gold medal in the FIBA World Championships over the summer.
The Lakers bench has enough talent to rival some teams’ starters. The only team with a bench that can compare is the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics and Lakers play in Los Angeles on the 30th of January. They play again just 11 days later. The title of the best bench in the league will be on the line.
That is until they meet once more in the NBA Finals.
Tags: Andrew Bynum, Boston Celtics, California, california life, California Life with Heather Dawson, Dwight Howard, FIBA World Championship, Jonathan Khamis, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, Matt Barnes, NBA, Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Team USA, The Orange County Register, UCLA, www.nba.com/lakers