How ‘On Paper’ Version of L.A. Lakers Compares to Reality

Even by NBA superteam standards, this Los Angeles Lakers' roster is special.

Led by a five-time NBA champion (Kobe Bryant) on the wing, a two-time MVP point guard (Steve Nash) and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner anchoring their interior (Dwight Howard), there are no identifiable weaknesses among the starting five.

When Metta World Peace said on the ESPN Los Angeles with Max and Marcellus radio show (as transcribed by Chris Fedor of that his club wanted to break the Bulls' record of 72-10, the basketball world let out a collective chuckle.

A minute or so later, though, and we all realized that this club might actually have a chance. Despite a largely punchless bench and a heavily criticized head coach (then Mike Brown), the abundance of skill that this starting group shared screamed "championship or bust."

Of course, games aren't played on paper. And paper can't account for things like team chemistry and injuries.

Make no mistake, eight games is far too early for this club to hit the panic button. (Even if the front office pounded on it three games ago.)

But it is more than enough time to highlight some inconsistencies between our perceptions of what the Lakers should be and our observations of what the Lakers really are.

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