Charles Barkley believes the Lakers are a better team with 7-foot center Andrew Bynum than without him (surprise!). He and fellow former NBA standout Chris Webber talked about the Lakers’ postseason fortunes during halftime of TNT’s telecast of the Lakers’ victory Thursday night over the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.
Said Barkley: “I don’t think the Lakers can win the championship without Andrew Bynum. You know what killer instinct really is? It’s just defense. And realistically, if you look at (the Lakers), Kobe Bryant is a defender, but there’s no one else on that team that you say, ‘He’s a defender.’ The game always comes down to defense. They’ve got to be concerned. They are one of the elite teams in the NBA, but can they beat the Spurs, Utah, Celtics, Cleveland and Orlando? It’s not going to be that easy.”
Said Webber: “We interviewed Kobe (Bryant) earlier this year and … he said the reason why (the Lakers) lost (in the Finals) last year is because they weren’t tough. Just because you have a great team and you can win those (regular season) games, it is a totally different season when the playoffs come. … When you’re not respected by other NBA teams or when other people see that chink in your armor, they are gong to go after that. If they don’t have Bynum, then they don’t have shot blocking inside, they don’t have toughness in their presence and other teams could exploit that.”