NBA Offseason Buzz: L.A. Lakers
Kobe's production should slip next season, but Farmar could pick up slack
The Lakers avenged their 2008 NBA Finals face-plant against the Boston Celtics, Kobe got his ring sans Shaq and Phil Jackson broke his tie for championships with Red Auerbach. So what's their motivation this time around?
"Proving that Ron Artest isn't title-prohibiting crazy" probably won't be on the cover of the media guide, but it's hard to find a more compelling answer at the moment. It's easy to forget now, but the one question looming over the Lakers last season was whether they had the necessary killer instinct and mental toughness to win a championship. Now the question is, did they forge some permanent inner steel by overcoming Houston, Denver and, finally, Orlando, or will the removal of so many monkeys from so many backs cause them to lose that grit?
Oh, and what happens if Kobe's production begins to decline after his super season?
To see which player is taking off, who is crashing to earth and which name you'll need to know for the 2009-10 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.
2009 NBA OFFSEASON BUZZ
Note: For definitions of all of John Hollinger's advanced statistics, click here.