Culver City Observer -

Upgraded Roster Will Help Lakers


When I was traveling with Laker teams for many years we used to pass idle time by discussing a variety of basketball topics.

One time Jerry West told me it was important to make changes, usually among the reserves, every season regardless of how successful the team had been.

He thought it was best to do that for team chemistry.

Mitch Kupchak is the general manager now and it’s obvious he was well trained by West. The Lakers have won the NBA championship the last two years but they’ve recently made significant roster changes

In my opinion, their roster has been upgraded. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win the championship next season but they’re giving themselves an excellent chance.

Theo Retliff is a veteran center who should provide quality depth as aq backup in the frontcourt. He gives the Lakers insurance if Andrew Bynum’s minutes are limited by injuries.

The thought process is the same regarding Matt Barnes. He’ll be a reserve forward available to lift a burden from Luke Walton, who’s been troubled by injuries. Kupchak has advanced the possibility Walton may take the season off.

Steve Blake will fill the role of Jordan Fasrmar, providing scoring off the bench. He doesn’t have Farmar’s speed but is a reliable shooter.

Playing for the Clippers last season, Blake demonstrated a nice shooting touch. He’s a veteran who impressed me when he played for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The L:akers will still depend on Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol for their most important points and Derek Fisher for his leadership and clutch baskets. But the reserves can influence the outcome of games.

The Lakers didn’t get everyone they wanted, including Raja Bell, who signed with Utah. But they did very well.

One reason for their aggressive pursuit of players was a response to the Miami Heat, who became the favorite for next season’s championship by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

The Lakers can’t do anything about other teams making dramatic moves, but they can upgrade their roster to the limit within the salary cap.


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