Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sometimes you need to recognize how good you are

In the offseason, Kobe's videotaped rant (and the surrounding drama) was based on the premise that the Lakers weren't in a position to compete for a championship. Even during the season, I've read a number of comments where Kobe (or someone else) talks about how the Lakers are "still growing" or some such comment.

Well, they might be still growing, but I think it's time for Kobe (and the rest of the Lakers) to realize that they are competing for a championship this season. We're more than a quarter of the way through the season and the Lakers have the second best per game point differential in the Western Conference. San Antonio is better (+7.0), but the Lakers (+5.4) are ahead of Phoenix (+5.0), Utah (+5.0), Dallas (+3.5), and Denver (+3.7)-- all teams normally considered better than the Lakers. (In the Eastern Conference, only Boston and Detroit have better per game point differentials) According to John Hollinger's power rankings, the Lakers are actually the best team in the Western Conference (and third overall- again behind Boston and Detroit).

As far as I'm concerned, these numbers make the Lakers legitimate title contenders-- not at some undefined point in the future, but right now.

[note: I would have preferred to have looked at efficiency differential rather than per game differential, but I couldn't find an easily sortable list anywhere.]

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