Magic Johnson is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers ( about a 5% share), and he thinks the Lakers are going to win another NBA championship this season. Go figure.
Johnson may be the most biased sports analyst on TV, but–as much as I hate to admit it– he makes a valid argument for a Lakers three-peat. (Los Angeles Times, via the Boston Herald)
“The Lakers still have the most talent,” he said. “They’re the best team in the NBA.”
But that could change in a year of two, Johnson suggested. He said Miami needs at least a season for its new roster to get used to playing together. Mainstays such as Wade, guard Mario Chalmers and forward Udonis Haslem remain, but seven new players have filled out the roster with another spot open.
“You’ve got to remember they’re going to have (eight) new guys,” Johnson said. “They lose this year; Lakers win. I think that team may win two or three in a row” later.
Noticeably absent in Johnson’s interview is any mention of the Boston Celtics. After LeBron and Chris Bosh joined up with Dwyane Wade in Miami, everybody seemed to forget that the Celtics were 6 minutes away from another NBA championship, and are still the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
But no matter, all this chatter does is provide even more motivation to a team that will be as motivated as any team to win a ring. That kind of heartbreak only fuels the fire with guys as competive as Ray, Paulie, KG, and Rondo.
Other highlights of the interview (or lowlights, depending on how you look at it) :
“You can’t win without Derek,” Johnson said. “Derek is the best leader probably in basketball.”
Eww. I just threw up in the back of my mouth. I’m so sick of the effusive praise of Derek Fisher. Ok, I admit, he made a few big shots. But the “best leader” in basketball, a true winner, someone you “can’t win without”? NO. He played with Shaq and Kobe. He’s probably the worst defensive point guard in the league–just ask Speedy Claxton. And I don’t need anybody else to tell me what a great guy he is. I get it. I just don’t care.
“Mitch Kupchak did a fabulous job,” he said, smiling broadly, of the Lakers’ general manager.”When you think about the moves,” Johnson said, “it sets the Lakers up to three-peat — no question about it.”
Unfortunately, Magic is right. The Lakers had a hell of an offseason. Matt Barnes, though he has become overrated due to the phenomenon known as offseason beer goggles, is a solid backup to Kobe Bryant. He’ll provide defense, energy, and the occasional three-point shot. But Steve Blake is the more important signing. Blake SHOULD usurp Fisher’s role as starting point guard. He’s a a good three-point shooter who will do well in the Triangle Offense, and an even better passer. Not a stud defensively, but he can’t be as bad as Fisher.