Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace is one of the most outspoken players in the NBA, and his quotes (often ridiculous) usually find their way into media headlines. The veteran made a very bold statement Thursday, saying that the new-look Lakers have a real chance to break the Chicago Bulls 72-game single season win record.
“With Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, it’s definitely possible,” World Peace said to the Los Angeles Times. “They’re great players.”
While that lineup on paper looks extremely frightening, there are still a lot of questions to answer before this team can even remotely be in the same sentence as one of the NBA’s greatest teams.
Howard is recovering from back surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season. Nash is 38 years old, and while he still is one of the top point guards in the NBA, the age factor has to catch up to him at some point. Bryant also has a lot of milage on him, and it remains to be seen how the superstar will gel with the new supporting cast.
The team will also have to deal with the media circus that surrounds the superstar-laden teams in today’s media age. While Los Angeles has always been a powerhouse, the expectations are raised with the new additions, and predictions like this only enlarge the target now painted on their jerseys. Teams always played hard against the Miami Heat after the “Big 3” formed, and the Lakers could face a similar scenario in 2013.
The 72-win Bulls squad featured arguably the best player of all-time (Michael Jordan), a great sidekick (Scottie Pippen), a defensive monster (Dennis Rodman), and a phenomenal supporting cast. The team also had time to gel, with Jordan and Pippen playing for several years prior to the historic season.
These limitations are why the Lakers will not come close to the 72-win mark set by the Bulls. I’d argue that they won’t even finish with the best regular season record in the NBA, with the “Big 3” in Miami entering their third season together.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.