Same Old Kobe

by February 10, 2009

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Before the 2008-09 season, the SLAM preview issue ran five Obama campaign-inspired covers before America elected its first African-American president. Previews, in general, take a shot at predicting what the future may hold. Thankfully, the Lakers didn’t present many headaches in this department. They had the reigning MVP. They had the best coach in the game (or one of them, at least). They returned nearly the entire team that backstroked its way to the NBA Finals. Yes, the Lakers were pretty much a sure thing.

Looking at the Lakers’ situation heading into the post-season, you can’t help but get some serious deja vu. L.A. lost its starting center Andrew Bynum just when he seemed to find the “Nasty” button. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are smoothing the wrinkles on the interior during the interim, utilizing their finesse and versatility. Kobe is stepping up his game from month-to-month, playing like the League’s most valuable player. Phil Jackson axed the facial hair, but he’s still completely Zen. Like it or not, the Lakers are the favorite to run the West for a second straight year. But can they win that elusive ring with exactly the same team as last season? Not if one West Coast Morrison has something to say about it…