Los Angeles Lakers

Predicted Record
44-38 (Tom), 40-42 (Gil)

Last Year’s Record

Tom’s Commentary
Recalling the hysterical flailing about of Kobe Bryant last spring about his current employer and the deathly serious manner in which sports reporters engaged the story reminds me that basketball season means more Stephen A. Smith, not less. I’m not sure I’m up to the effort of processing Smith as humor right away, and not doing so is madness, so it might be the All-Star break before I begin to pay attention to the sport again.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Kobe Bryant is really good and his teammates really aren’t, although Bynum, Odom and Walton will all have games where if you’re drunk when you see it you might swear differently. Bryant has neglected to have forceful sex with any mostly in-retrospect-unwilling partners recently, which in today’s professional sports landscape makes him a wise ambassador of the game.

Rejoinder From Gil
Now that Etan Thomas has had surgery for the same heart condition that Ronny Turiaf suffered from, I think we need to ban bulky, dreadlocked power forwards from the NBA.

Meanwhile, I’m finally ready to admit that Lamar Odom is overrated, that Luke Walton will never play any better, and that Andrew Bynum really doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to Tracy Morgan.

Gratuitous Comics Connection
Los Angeles boasts some of the greatest comic book shops in the world, including Meltdown, Golden Apple and The Secret Headquarters.

Gratuitous Pharma Connection
Pfizer recently formed a “biotech incubator” in La Jolla, in hopes of developing some new drugs to replace the tens of billions of dollars in revenues that they’ll be losing in a few years when Lipitor goes generic. I think it’s at aintgonnahappen.com.

The Bottom Line
You’re in trouble when your journeyman center misses the entire season with ankle surgery, walks back out on the floor and immediately reclaims the starting spot. Supposedly, Kobe’s going to be traded around 45 minutes after I post this preview. I’m hoping he ends up on the Nets, traded for Vince Carter and spare parts. –GR

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