Monday Morning Point Guard: Team Of The Week (Updated)
Los Angeles Lakers
They still haven't worked out the chemistry problems with center Andrew Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol in the low block. Lamar Odom is still trying figure out how to be effective at sixth man. But when you've got the league's most valuable player in Kobe Bryant, those little bumps can be smoothed over with blowout wins.
The Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets by an average of 21.7 points. The Nuggets gave them a slight scare, but Bryant scored 14 fourth-quarter points to lead his team to a 104-97 win.
It's just one week, but at least one player had reason to celebrate. Bynum signed a four-year, $57-million extension, which Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke said was a bit premature. Bynum must've seen his big payday coming because there is video of him celebrating his 21st birthday last weekend by digging into his pockets, showing and throwing his money this a-way, that a-way; showering the little people with cash.
The Lakers appear to be motivated to have purple and gold confetti raining down on them in the NBA Finals.
Check out Times NBA Columnist Mark Heisler's take:
Three games into the season is a tad early to say anyone is anything, but here's what we know:
1) The Lakers are really good, and 2) it doesn't matter how good they are, only how well they do. If it was no surprise a 7-foot prodigy would help, more things are going right than anyone imagined.
* With no established small forward, Phil Jackson surprised everyone by plugging Vladimir Radmanovic, the best shooter, back in. In their first two games, Radmanovic played 42 minutes, took a total of eight shots -- and made four three-pointers. Jackson used to call Radmanovic "my favorite Martian," but when you roll over everyone, you don't care what planet he's from, you just call it "diversity."
* Lamar Odom, in a funk with his contract extension request turned down and his future here only too clear, is now looking like the Kobe Bryant of the Second Unit -- "the queen on the chessboard," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy called him -- kicking one of the league's best benches to another level.
* Trevor Ariza is making three-pointers. If that continues, this league is in real trouble.
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