In February, right before the Lakers played their first game with Pau Gasol, I wrote a column on here about the Lakers having all of the pieces of the puzzle. The only question was wether all of those guys could jell together to form a great team. Well, as we all know, Pau fit in great from the jump and Kobe continued his great team play on his way to his first MVP. The Lakers played their way to the #1 seed in the torrid Western Conference. And now they arrive in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004, defining what a team should be.
If the Lakers are going to finish this thing off, they need to continue to play as they have all year. No one has ever been MORE valuable to their respective teams than Kobe has to LA this year. He has taken less shots and sacrificed a scoring title for the chance at the real hardware. In doing so, the young guys and role players had the chance to step up and play well for the team. They have stepped up and played well, while continuing to gain confidence throughout the season. The young players feel like the are a big part of this, they have earned their piece as well. But as we know, this is Kobe and Pau's team. The two man game within the triangle seems unstoppable at times, with the pick and roll and pick and pop style that Pau can play. They have formed a great duo that has Laker fans looking to the future with a smile that hasn't been seen in years. They both need to play well in this series if they wan't to stand as champions, Pau must show up every game and Kobe can't try to do it himself. With the legendary Phil Jackson as their coach, I think that the team will continue to play as that, a team. There are many factors in this series, but the Kobe and Pau show must roll on if the Lakers are to win. If they do it will be due to Kobe and his strong supporting cast, and the late addition of Pau Gasol. And if they do bring home the title, Danny Ainge needs to FedEx his Executive of the Year trophy to 1111 S. Figueroa Street.