Can the Lakers be contenders next season?

starting-five-lakers

As the red and white confetti rained down on South Beach last night, there were many who felt as if the moment should’ve instead belonged to the purple and gold, yet the celebration was ‘White Hot” and the only gold in sight was the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Just ten months ago everything looked great. Out of nowhere, Steve Nash was suddenly a Laker, then just weeks later Dwight Howard finally landed in Hollywood without Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss having to give up Pau Gasol.

How would the Heat compete with such a complete roster? Who would they put on Howard in the NBA Finals? Joel Anthony?!

Fast forward through 82 games – and 16 wins for the Heat – and all of a sudden it finally hit home: the Lakers are a mess.

Our beloved Lakers were in disarray this year right from the very start until their painful execution at the hand of the Spurs during the playoffs, so the franchise’s problems were well known, but it all seemed to finally hit home last night when Howard sent out a tweet congratulating Miami on their epic Game 7 win, which completed their quest for a second straight championship.

[tweet https://twitter.com/DwightHoward/status/347934059609063424]

The Lakers were the last team to win back-to-back ‘ships in a time when things seemed so much simpler: the two-man game of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant was almost unstoppable and the performances of players such as Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher were legendary among Laker fans. Now, both Odom and Fish have seemingly lost that magic touch, just like their former team.

The Bryant and Gasol tandem can still be deadly, but the knees of the talented Spaniard are a constant worry and the recovery from a devastating Achilles injury for Kobe is yet to be seen. Can these two champions, who have forged a close relationship since Gasol’s astonishing arrival in Los Angeles in 2008, lead their team to glory once again?

They can, but not without assistance.

NEXT PAGE: The importance of Kobe, Pau, Nash and Dwight

Written by Ross Pickering

Ross Pickering is the founder of Lakerholicz.com. He's here to bring you daily updates on your Los Angeles Lakers, despite living 5,485 miles away from L.A. in England. You can follow him on Twitter: @RossPickering