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Is this Lakers team the NBA's best ever? Not by a three-pointer

LAKERS / Q & A

Either L.A.'s '87-'88 squad of Abdul-Jabbar, Magic & Co., or the '85-'86 Celtics could wear that crown.

December 12, 2009|By Broderick Turner

Broderick Turner covers The Lakers for the Times. Readers' questions about the Lakers will be answered every week.

Question: Every time I see [Derek] Fisher, Kobe [Bryant], [Ron] Artest/[Lamar] Odom, [Pau] Gasol, and [Andrew] Bynum on the court together, I can't help but think that it might be the most talented group of players to suit up together. I'm not sure the 2009/2010 are the best team ever -- the bench makes this a difficult stretch, considering MJ (Magic Johnson), Showtime, and the '70s and '80s in general.

Is this the most talented group of five ever to suit up together for the same team?

Mike Seville

San Francisco

Answer: Mike, how long have you been watching basketball?

You already forgot about the Lakers from the 1980s?

Let's start with the 1987-88 Lakers team, considered one of the best in NBA history.

That team had three Hall of Famers in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson (the NBA's MVP that season) and James Worthy. Byron Scott was/is one of the best shooters the Lakers have ever had. AC Green/Kurt Rambis were great role players at power forward. Michael Cooper was named defensive player of the year as the sixth man. Mychal Thompson was a force off the bench.

That team had seven players average in double figures. (This 2009-10 team has four players averaging double-figures).

As a Lakers fan, you're probably going to hate to hear this, but the Boston Celtics championship team from the 1985-86 season is also considered one of the best teams in history.

The frontline of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish is considered the best in NBA history, and all three are in the Hall of Fame. The Celtics had a backcourt of Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson. Bill Walton was on that team and he was the sixth man of the year on that team.

Q: It has been predicted that the Lakers have the potential for 65-70 wins in the regular season. Is it possible that despite their fast start this prediction can be a bogus one and this [road trip] schedule will come back and haunt the Lakers? They are a very good team. However, will their win total even equal 55 or 60 games?

Casey Bruton

Manasquan, N.J.

A: Oh, ye of little faith.

These guys are good, probably not so good that they'll win 72 games and break the NBA's all-time record for most wins in a season. But 55-60 wins. C'mon!

If the Lakers stay healthy, they should be somewhere in the 65-67 win total.

Q: I don't think [Adam] Morrison has ever fully recovered from the knee [injury]. He seemed more explosive in college. I mean he doesn't look like he can get a shot off, either a long three-pointer or a fall-away.

Do they just suck it up with him this year and wait for [Luke] Walton to come back. I know they have a great record, but I would love for them to have one more scorer off the bench.

You still don't think they will try and package Morrison or Sasha [Vujacic] or both in a trade for a small forward?

John Fish

Minneapolis

A: Indeed, Morrison is not the same player since he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in 2007 that forced him to miss the entire season for the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Lakers still are a deep, talented team and can always move Kobe Bryant to the small forward spot.

Everybody is always trying to unload Sasha. Hey, if he's not producing for the Lakers, why would another team want an unproductive player?

Q: Why don't more Lakers -- and basketball players in general -- wear protective goggles? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy had outstanding careers while wearing such safety goggles, so it's not as if it should negatively affect performance, right? The recent incident involving Pau Gasol getting poked in the eye accidentally by a teammate should be taken as a serious warning by concerned parties.

A: Good question.

It's all about being cool, and wearing goggles is not considered cool, I guess.

I do think the goggles are a little uncomfortable for players and it obstructs their peripheral vision a little.

Readers can e-mail questions about the Lakers to our beat reporters, but please put "Q&A" in the subject field. Write:

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

or

broderick.turner@latimes.com

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