I have nothing to back this up -- other than a hunch. So, I'm probably wrong. But I've got this hunch.
The Lakers may very well get past the Spurs. I think a lot depends on whether Pau Gasol can play TD evenly. This is going to be a very big test for Gasol. I've got this nagging feeling that his performance is going to be crucial. Odom is a wonderful gap-filler for Kobe and Gasol, and he's even good enough to carry the Lakers for a good 8 to 12 minutes, but he's proven time and again that he cannot be relied upon as one of the first two major options. Since no one is going to shut Kobe down on either end, Gasol is going to have to step up big time to give Odom the freedom to be free.
So, with Kobe and Gasol, they are a great team. With that bench, they are tough to beat. But, there are great teams in the West and a handful only getting greater.
The "dynasty" talk usually starts with, "When they get Bynum back ..."
You know what? When I hit the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes I'm going to send someone down to my office to clean it out.
I've got this nagging hunch that Bynum's not coming back to form any time in the near future -- if at all. It's interesting to note that the guy was a "project" with "potential" for several years and has only had half of one decent season. He was averaging something like 13 and 10 and he filled the defensive post rather nicely. However, he did it for a whole 30 games or something.
When looking at Kobe's finger problem, I posted saying that he should get it fixed and reload for next year with Bynum. An astute Laker fan said that the Lakers have had injuries problems for years. I think he was right. I keep thinking of Karl Malone's MCL (or was it ACL) tear being diagnosed as a strain. The Lakers' medical staff nearly killed that statutory rapist.
The Lakers' medical staff kept promising that Bynum would be ready. Are they the same guys from The Money Pit, who kept promising Forest Gump and Diane Chambers that the house would be finished in "just two weeks"? (anyone who's ever hired a contractor knows what I'm talking about)
He's not coming back to camp in shape next season -- even if his knee somehow magically heals.
Also, he was one of those guys who got too big too fast. Didn't he have knee problems in high school?
I just don't think he's going to be the guy that we saw glimpses of in that half-season. Maybe the year after next. Maybe.
If he's not that guy, then the Lakers will be a great team, but not a dynasty. History (i.e., history of the medical staff) says it's not going to happen.
According to these sources, though, Bynum has fully recovered. The Army has yet to steer me wrong.