[Note: I've got more posts coming, don't worry. After basically going AWOL for the last two days, I owe it to all of you. -PM]
The season is still two months away, but most of the rosters are set, barring the requisite Michael Jordan comeback rumor (just kidding, but only a little). We have an idea where our team stands, but we can't really know unless we discuss everyone else. In that spirit, I'm going to throw up a "competition discussion" thread for each of the other 29 teams over the next month or so. We'll go in alphabetical order from A to Z. Today's team: LA Lakers.
Last year's record: 42-40.
Playoffs: Lost to Phoenix 4-1.
In: Derek Fisher (free agent), Javaris Crittenton (draft), Coby Karl (free agent).
Out: Smush Parker (free agent).
Projected starting lineup: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ronny Turiaf, Andrew Bynum (says that here).
Bench (in no particular order): Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton, Maurice Evans, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Luke Walton, Brian Cook, Coby Karl, Kwame Brown, Chris Mihm.
So what do we think? Was Kobe bluffing this summer, or will he actually go play somewhere else? Did the Lakers do enough to appease Kobe (hint, no)? Can their new lineup work? What to make of Lamar Odom? How much is the Kwame for Butler trade hurting them?
We know how this story goes. They'll put together one hot stretch when everyone is playing well, and we'll hear about the unselfish play of Kobe and the masterful coaching job of Phil Jackson. Then, they'll have one bad stretch where nobody is playing well and we wonder whether Kobe will go elsewhere. Finally, there will be one stretch where Kobe goes on a scoring binge, but the rest of the team doesn't play well and they either tread water or barely win games. It'll all result in a .500 season or so and another first-round exit.
42-40 sounds about right to me.
Other CDs, with mine and Jake's projected record alongside. Yours, of course, are in the comments of those posts.
Charlotte: 42-40/39-43. Of course, this news changes everything. Now, I say the Bobcats finish 35-47.
Golden State: 36-46/35-47.
LA Clippers: 23-59/19-63.