LA Lakers to dominate once again
Words on Sport/
The Los Angeles Lakers were the best in professional basketball throughout the 1980s, and were believed to be the greatest team in history. Now they find themselves in a new decade and a new era. The last two years they failed to win the championship. Kareem is gone, Pat Riley retired, and even defensive superstar Michael Cooper has left.
The style of basketball that Los Angeles helped to establish in the last decade required healthy and athletic players to fuel its quick attack. These are the '90s and age has become a factor. Are the Lakers now too old to run up and down the floor as fast as they did before?
In the championship series two years ago, the Lakers lost to Detroit not because of Detroit's running game or its strong defense but primarily because of key injuries to Magic Johnson and Byron Scott. Without their two starting guards, the Lakers were crippled.
It is important to understand that the National Basketball Association as a whole has adopted the Lakers' style of play. Every team is looking to employ a running game and a strong defense. There is an overall trend to become faster and stronger mainly due to the outstanding success that the Lakers had with the fast break.
Now that the league has better athletes, utilizing a running game has become more of a challenge. This has not and will not change the Laker philosophy. During the off-season, they signed Sam Perkins as a free agent.
Perkins, who is six feet, 10 inches tall, is ideal for the Laker system. He is a solid rebounder and shooter and, most importantly, he is quick. He will most likely be coming in off the bench to give either James Worthy or A. C. Green a rest. His defensive skills should make it difficult for other teams to establish an inside game against the Lakers.
In addition to Perkins, the Lakers acquired Terry Teagle, who is 6'-9" and has an excellent shooting range. He should backup Green or Scott at guard.
Magic is healthy and is determined to regain the title. Scott, who had been hampered by hamstring problems, is in good shape. His incredible outside shooting is crucial to the Laker attack. The starting line up with Magic, Scott, Worthy, Thompson and Green remains the same as last year's but the bench is more talented with Perkins, Teagle and Campbell.
The Lakers will make it to the Western Conference finals this year. Their dominance in the West is still unchallenged. Barring any catastrophic injuries
to Magic, Scott or Worthy, they should win the Western Division title. The only difference from last year is that they will have a stronger defense and a quicker team. No matter whom they play in the finals -- Detroit or Chicago -- they should win it all and regain their authority.