As we play out the final days of the 2011-'12 NBA regular season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Make sure and get Fantasy Alarm's award winning 2012 Fantasy Baseball iPhone App!
Lakers lead the Pacific Division and are in good shape for the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. As has been the case since the late '90's, the Lakers success hinges on a healthy Kobe. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will need to log heavy minutes in the post season with Lamar Odom no longer around to provide minutes. Ramon Sessions brings energy in the backcourt, but hasn't had alot of time to work alongside Bryant. Metta World Peace has stepped up his game, but needs to avoid crazy antics on the court of late.
LA is more than $25 million over the cap and more than half of that is subject to the luxury tax. As long as Kobe is around, cap issues will remain. The Lakers do have a $9 million dollar traded player exemption from the Lamar Odom deal.
The club's first round selection was traded to Cleveland in the Ramon Sessions deal. LA will select late in the second round, Fairfield small forward Rakim Sanders might be a good fit. The Lakers may opt for a center with Gonzaga's Robert Sacre a possibility.
The Lakers can trim $15 million from the cap over the next two seasons by exercising their amnesty provision on Metta World Peace.
The Good: LA again appears poised for a playoff run. Kobe is back after missing time, but hopefully has rested legs for second season. As long as the Lakers have the twin towers, the Western Conference title will pass through Staples Center. Andrew Bynum is quickly becoming the league's premiere center, some believe as valuable as Dwight Howard. Pau Gasol was not pleased with the Houston trade that ultimately fell through, but seems focused on business at hand.
The Bad: While the Lamar Odom experiment blew up in Dallas, his presence off the bench was missed in Los Angeles. Metta World Peace has stepped up since the All-Star break, but can't rotate in the post with the towers. Ramon Sessions was a much needed boost to the backcourt, but the jury is still out on how well he fits in with "showtime". The Lakers will go as far as a healthy Kobe will take them, the bench is inconsistent and could be exploited.
Ten players return under contract next season with the club considerably over the cap. With that in mind, Jordan Hill and Matt Barnes need to be brought back, with the second round draft pick rounding out the roster. A major rebuild is coming around Bynum in 2014, perhaps a season earlier.
Why read boxscores when you can find out everything that happened in Howard Bender's nightly Fantasy Baseball Roundup
Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga
Kobe Bryant, Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris
Jordan Hill, Todd Murphy, Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks,
Listen to The Fantasy Alarm Show Saturday & Sunday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST and Wednesday 8:00 PM EST to 10:00 PM EST on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio XM channel 87/Sirius 210.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
Talking Hoops: The Home Stretch
Talking Hoops: Week 23 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Injury Parade
Talking Hoops: Week 22 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Week 21 Roster Adjustment Options
Talking Hoops: Week 20
Talking Hoops: Week 19 Roster Adjustmemts
Talking Hoops: Post Trade Deadline Waiver Candidates
Talking Hoops: Trade Deadline
Talking Hoops: Southwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Pacific Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Northwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops-All Star Weekend
Talking Hoops: Southeast Division @ Midseason
Rising Stars Challenge- Keeper League Dream Team
Grizzlies Finally Trade Rudy Gay
Talking Hoops: Central Division Mid-Season
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Western Conference
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Eastern Conference
Talking Hoops: Atlantic Division Mid Season