Los Angeles Lakers Should Keep the Team Intact If They Want Next Season’s Title

After the Los Angeles Lakers were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in last season’s Western Conference semifinals, Magic Johnson felt general manager Mitch Kupchak needed to rebuild the team. While Magic may be the greatest point guard ever, he’s wrong about this.

To be fair, his comments came after the culmination of Game 4, so emotion—instead of reason—was their driving force.

Although Dallas pulled off a sweep, LA was very close to winning Games 1 and 3. A few less mistakes and it’s a different series. Of course, that’s all moot now.

The Lakers still have a great team and Kobe Bryant. While Kobe’s declining, he doesn't need to be in vintage form to get another ring because of the strong options around him. There’s no reason he can’t reinvent himself by distributing more and average 18-22 points and seven to nine assists per game over the next couple of years.

Pau Gasol is a superstar-level talent who provides close to 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. Marc’s older brother is amongst the league’s 15 best players and was the Lakers' most efficient player in 2010-2011.

Andrew Bynum is the NBA’s second-best center. The 23-year-old’s become a monster in the low post, dominates on the boards, alters a lot of opponents' shots and seems ready to ascend into a perennial All-Star if he stays healthy. His presence in the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals helped LA win back-to-back titles, and he was their most efficient player during the 2011 postseason (besides this major gaffe). Considering how difficult it is to find a skilled big man who’s willing to play physical down low, the Lakers shouldn’t let Bynum go anywhere.

Unless the Lakers can get Andre Iguodala for Lamar Odom, which is both doubtful and a bad trade for Philadelphia, they should hold onto last season’s Sixth Man of the Year. Odom’s v...

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