We're still in preseason. The season doesn't start for another eight days.
Let me repeat that: we're still in preseason.
Which is why all this talk about the Lakers is cracking me up. The Lakers are 0-6 in the preseason, which has somewhat set the NBA community ablaze. Suddenly, they're overhyped. Their bench is weak (I agree to an extent). And some even said they're pretty much the same team from last year.
Let's break it down. Overhyped? It's STILL only preseason. Can anyone tell me the best preseason record ever was? Well, it doesn't matter because nobody cares. It's just a warm-up for the regular season. They'll run a few plays and see if it works in a regular NBA setting. They're checking who's good enough to make the team. That's why teams put in like 20 players in a game. Coaches and management have to see all these things. Quite frankly, the preseason is the part of the NBA year that I least care about. I care more about Summer League but maybe that's because it's in Vegas, I have access to it, and it's more fun seeing the rookies and players trying to make the league get some run.
In the end, the Lakers could go 0-8 and it really wouldn't matter. It's the regular season that counts. Oh, and postseason, too.
As far as the bench goes? Some people may have noticed that the Lakers has played an all-bench line-up. That rarely happens in the games that count unless it's garbage time. I think the Suns in 2010 did that quite a bit. But a 10-man rotation hardly happens. Most teams play nine guys and there is always a starter or two that plays with the bench. So you're not going to see that type of line-up for the Lakers. It's a pretty big difference when someone like Kobe or Steve Nash or Dwight Howard is in the line-up with other bench guys. They're not going to be this lame, guys. Let's wait 'til the regular season starts.
So how is this the same team?
You'd take Nash over Ramon Sessions easily. Most would take Dwight Howard over Andrew Bynum. And while Antawn Jamison is struggling in the preseason, his life will be easier down the line when guys like Nash and Howard are flanking him in the regular season. The main bench will be Jamison, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and Jordan Hill. Is that better than Matt Barnes, Blake, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, and Andrew Goudelock? Well, it SHOULD be. Jamison is a way better scorer than Barnes (though, admittedly, Barnes' injuries derailed his production). Meeks is a more legit outside threat than the guys from last year. And Hill (though injured now) comes back with a full training camp and is with the team at the start of the season.
So let's take a deep breath and remember: it's still only preseason. Let's judge after a few games have been played.
And even then, we can't come to conclusions accordingly until the regular season and playoffs are over. So let's sit back and enjoy the ride that is the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers.