NBA Playoffs 2012: Why the Los Angeles Lakers Will Cruise to the Championship

The Los Angeles Lakers have built a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets, and without question look like one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

Kobe Bryant hasn't lost a step in his 16th season, Andrew Bynum has transformed into arguably the best center in the NBA right now and the rest of this Lakers team has found a formula to win tough games.

The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are often mentioned as the favorites to win the West and for good reason. They are two very deep teams capable of beating anybody in the playoffs. However, nobody is more dangerous than the Los Angeles Lakers, giving them the edge as the favorites in the West.

Since 2005, the Lakers had plans of making Andrew Bynum into the next great center of the Los Angeles franchise. Due to years of injuries and slow development, Bynum's potential took a lot longer to reach than expected. Now after a full stretch with no season-ending injuries, the sleeping giant has finally awoken.

Bynum emerged this regular season, averaging 18.7 points a game along with 11.8 rebounds. He hasn't taken a step backwards in the playoffs with 18.5 points and 10.3 boards per game. When Bynum is at the top of his game, the Lakers are virtually unstoppable.

The Lakers have learned to trust and utilize Bynum as much as possible in the offensive game plan. That strategy must be enforced, especially by Kobe Bryant. If the Lakers don't make the NBA Finals, it will be on the shoulders of Bryant and his lack of trust in his teammates. That hasn't been the case since his return from injury just before the start of the postseason.

Just as important as superstars like Bynum, Bryant and Pau Gasol, the role players of LA have greatly contributed during the Lakers' strong postseason run.

While Derek Fisher was the point guard of the Lakers' offense, there was a glaring lack of speed and athleticism, as well as a shallow ...

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