Watching the Lakers’ two preseason games against the Denver Nuggets I realized that I really like their team: a scrappy underdog squad with an aging veteran core and unproven role players with something to prove. From a narrative perspective it’s an easy sell. Even better, they’ve got two of the most likable players in the league in Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, with Gasol on a mission to quiet his critics after a mediocre season last year spent trying (and failing) to find a way to fit into coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. Gasol already looks more aggressive and more productive in his early court time than he did at any point in the season last year. Back to crisp 16-footers, agile rebounding, and dizzying post moves.
Add journeyman center Chris Kaman, retread Jodie Meeks and Nick Young, the shot-aholic guard you love to hate, and you’ve got yourself a team with enough talent and grit to fight their way to a playoff berth, then use their veteran savvy to make it tough on whatever first or second seed they face once they get there. That’s a team I’m interested in watching. That’s a team I want to win. Nash looking for his first ring to justify joining a long time nemesis, Gasol looking to prove he’s still the player that tore up the US in the Olympics, D’Antoni looking to show the world he’s the kind of coach who CAN mesh superstars into a winning team, and Nick Young looking to prove he can hit contested 18 footers as well as anyone in the league. Continue reading