Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest to Show Great Improvement

Although the Miami Heat have taken much of the spotlight away from the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, there have still been numerous projections regarding the Lakers, both positive and negative.

The fact is: The Lakers have drastically improved since last season. Most notably for strengthening their most glaring weakness—the point guard position. 

Laker offseason acquisitions have been thoroughly discussed, and I'll leave this one alone by simply stating that Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff, Derrick Caracter, and Devin Ebanks are a major upgrade over Jordan Farmar, D.J. Mbenga, and Josh Powell.

Both Bryant and Fisher now have consistent, veteran replacements to fill in quality minutes for their aging legs.

While the superstars on the Lakers are likely to maintain their heightened level of play or improve, two other Lakers should make strong leaps forward this season: Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum.

Although statistical analysis could be used to project the level of play of these two, statistics are not always the strongest factor for evaluating players. Oftentimes, it is simply sheer motivation and psychological development that prove to be the rise or fall of a player.

Bynum has shown strong inclinations of stardom throughout his short NBA career. His fault has been obvious for some time now. Whenever injured, he seemed to take major steps back as it hurt the fluidity of his game. It is much harder to recover from an injury psychologically than it is physically for a young player.

Although Bynum is starting training camp sidelined due to injury, he shows strong promise due to his development in last year's playoffs. Bynum understood how crucial his role was for the Lakers against teams like Boston, even if he was just another big body clogging the paint.

Against Boston, he did an excellent job on Kendrick Perkins, and substantially reduced...

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