So the NBA Finals ended this week. The Celtics (who had been touted to win the whole season) took home the title by beating my beloved Lakers 4-2. They displayed the whole series that they were a much more complete team than the Lakers. Their team defense was astounding. They showed the league why they were 10 games better than the Lakers in the regular season. Simply put they were the much better team, and they deserved the win. Congrats Celtics.
In fact, even though they lost, I was extremely proud of the young Lakers team. When the season started if you had told me the Lakers would be in the NBA Finals I would have laughed at you. Most nwes outlets had Kobe going to Chicago, so I did not have high hopes for this squad. Then something crazy happened. Kobe and the kids (you have to call them kids, because besides Odom Radmanovic, and Fisher, they are a bunch of 2nd and 3rd year players) found their groove. Bynum turned out to be a force in the middle. The triangle was working. Vujacic and Farmar off the bench were contributing big. Then Bynum goes down. Again I thought the season would go down the tubes. Then Mitch Kupchak made the deal (ahem.. salary dump) with the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. The team ended up winning 34 of their last 42 regular season games. They were the hottest and best team going into the playoffs. That momentum kept going through the first 3 rounds of the playoffs. The Nuggets, Jazz and Spurs barely knew what hit them. Along the way Kobe also won the league MVP award. There was no stopping them.
Then they ran into the Celtics in the Finals. I wanted to believe they could get it done. They simply could not. They were completely outclassed. In fact I think they should have been swept. The games they won were both close. They nearly coughed up both leads. They needed sub-par games from the Celtics big three to even compete. The Celtics were simply better and it showed.
So although the season is over, I think you have to consider it a success for the Lakers. They now know what they have from some of these youngsters. Plus if Bynum is able to return healthy next year, think of that starting 5. Fisher, Bryant, Odom, Gasol and Bynum. That lineup creates matchup problems galore. That lineup is a 65 win team regular season team waiting to happen. One that I can easily see Big Chief Triangle leading to the championship next year. Lakers in 09... NBA Champs.