I wrote an entry in late December of 2006 that posed the question, how good are the Lakers? That team got off to a good start and looked like they were bound for a surprise season, but they stalled after the All-Star break and their home-heavy early schedule came back to bite 'em in the ass later. That team was often fun to watch, but seemed to play to the level of their competition, much like the Nick VanExel-era Lakers. This season, things seem much different.
Anyone who lives in SoCal can attest to how crazy it was when the whole Kobe saga was going down in the off season. That story absolutely hijacked sports talk radio at a time when my Angels were dominating and the Dodgers looked like a decent club. But, we all know this is a Lakers town first, so it really wasn't a big surprise. Anyway, after all that turmoil and controversy in the off season, a Lakers team as good as this one was definitely not expected by anyone not named Vic "The Brick" Jacobs.
But here we are in early January, and the Lake-Show is 22-11, only 1.5 games behind the Pacific Division leading Suns. Andrew Bynum looks destined to be the next great Lakers center, averaging 13 points and 10 boards a game. At age 20. Mitch Kupchack looks smarter and smarter with every double-double Bynum racks up. This team is just flat-out fun to watch, as they blow out the teams they should, beat the teams they should, and battle the best teams in the league tooth and nail. Tonight, I'm watching them wrap up a tidy 20+ point win over a solid Hornets team, and I think there's no question about it. The Lakers are good.