From the why did it take so long department, the Lakers re-signed Lamar Odom to a deal that keeps Los Angeles the class of the West as well as the favorites to repeat next season.
This is very bad news for every halfway decent team in the West as well as the contenders in the East. Although we always knew LO would be returning to LA, it was nice to at least think it was possibly that he would leave Venice Beach for South Beach.
That would have brought the Lakers back to the rest of the pack and given the West the sense of parity it saw at the top after LA last season.
The way I see things today, the Lakers are the class of the West, with San Antonio right at their heels and Dallas, Denver and Portland in the next tier. The Suns find themselves a tier below that along with teams like New Orleans and Utah.
Looking at the Pacific Division, although it was a deep second place behind the NBA champions, the Suns did finish second in their division last season and enter this year as the clear-cut second-best team, although I think the Clippers and Warriors could surprise some people.
The Odom signing widens that gap even more because now the Lakers’ biggest strength aside from having No. 24 on their side is post depth with a rotation of Gasol-Bynum-Odom.
Conversely, the Suns’ biggest weakness at this point of the year is post depth, with players in Channing Frye and Robin Lopez excelling at only one end of the floor flanking Amare, and we know how he is on the boards and defensive end. None of those three guys could be called an even above-average rebounder, so teams with lots of post depth like the Lakers have should crush Phoenix.
And if injuries get the best of Amare, there’s no Big Shaqtus around to save the day this time. The Suns would be toast inside.
This isn’t to say the Suns would be the Lakers’ equal if LO went back with his buddy D-Wade, but the gap certainly didn’t get any closer today.