By Haz Bey
The Los Angeles Lakers are a brand new bunch these days. With Lamar Odom & Shannon Brown leaving, the Lake-Show had to incorporate some new faces to the Purple & Gold. Troy Murphy & Josh McRoberts joined the team in the off-season and are actually playing very well this season. Neither one of them can never fully fill the void left by the departure of Odom & Brown, but by them contributing in a different way via on the boards and hustle plays, the Lakers seem to be in good shape moving forward. The teams hugest problem right now is the health of Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba is clearly the toughest player in the league, with out a doubt. The man was playing with a torn ligament on his shooting hand and ended up averaging 27.9 ppg to finish the season. 16 long years in the league and he is still putting up MVP-type numbers, but he never complains. Kobe's model, "Just do your job." So if he isn't letting up, no one else on the team should either. Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol got the message and both played at an All-Star level including both 7-footers averaging high double-doubles. Andrew & Pau are 2 of the 3 best big men in the league hands down. Bynum is a straight up beast down-low & Pau can dominate a game from the inside out. That is an advantage teams will have nightmares preparing against and 1st up is the young Denver Nuggets. I would put the Lakers "Big 3" against anybody in the league, if the Lakers want to win a title this year, newly acquired point guard Ramon Sessions will have to cause havoc on both ends of the floor. Not since Nick "The Quick" Van Exel has the Lakers had a dynamic point guard that can get to the rack with such explosion. He will be key to make sure Kobe, Bynum & Gasol receive the ball in their sweet spots and to put pressure on the defense from the top of the key. If the Lakers can just stay afloat with Metta World Peace out on suspension, then we will see if they can make a true run at the World Title. That would be their 4th trip to the Finals in 5 years and if they win it all, a 3rd title in 4 years. That's dynasty status and not to mention the fact that winning the "17th Banner" would tie hated rival Boston for the most in NBA history. That's goal for this team. It is still championship or bust in L.A. That will never change, but if the Lakers play to their potential, there might not be a team in the league that can stop them.