Just like every season, the top teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference will be battling it out all year for that coveted thing called home court advantage. But don’t expect the Lakers to be too concerned about finishing with home court advantage. Why you ask? Let me explain.
The Lakers know that with their current squad they can beat anyone anywhere. Period. And although home court advantage is important (and you know they will still try and get it), it’s not the most important item of business for repeating as champs.
Integrating Ron Artest
From the first day of training camp Coach Phil Jackson made it clear: “Fit Ron in.” He knows that in order to compete for a championship this season, their new small forward Artest will need to be perfectly integrated not only into the basketball side of things, but into the team’s overall chemistry.
The reason this outweighs the importance of home court advantage for L.A is that it might be necessary from time to time for the Lakers to sacrifice a few games here and there, in order to ensure Ron’s integration. Whatever it takes to get Ron fully integrated come April 15. That’s when the playoff’s begin for you noobs out there.
The Development of Andrew Bynum
Look. Bynum is a 7 foot monster/beast. Of the top contending teams, only Cleveland(Shaq) and Orlando(howard) has a center that can compete with Bynum. And even those matchups favor the Lakers because of Pau Gasol in the frontcourt with Andrew.
Look for the Lakers to run more and more of their Triangle offense through Bynum during the regular season to help continue the development of his game. I expect Bynum to have another break out season and finally make the All-Star team.
These 2 objectives are the Lakers priority. You can sense it whenever you watch or hear an interview with the coaching staff or the players themselves. They know that if they can accomplish these 2 objectives, stay healthy, and keep up the same defensive intensity as last season, they WILL REPEAT AS CHAMPS!