How can the Lakers become Metta’s NBA Finalists?

Metta World Peace isn’t a stranger at all to brash preseason purple and gold predictions. Just a year ago, the former Ron Artest proclaimed that the team’s goal for the 2012-2013 season should be to go 73-9, topping the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ historic record. Days before his first Lakers training camp in 2009, he boldly announced that if the reigning champs did not repeat as titlists, he’d shoulder the blame.
 
Even when not on the roster, Metta hasn’t shied away from…audacious sound bytes. This one, more than those previous two, seemed more inexplicable than Chris Brown’s continuing popularity. During a book signing yesterday in Manhattan, the newly-inked New York Knickerbocker told this to ESPNNewYork.com:

“I think the Lakers are going to go to the NBA Finals,” World Peace said during a signing for his children’s book “Metta’s Bedtime Stories” in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday.
 
“I think Kobe [Bryant’s] gonna be healthy, they’re gonna get Pau [Gasol]. The Lakers are gonna make a big trade like they always do. They’re gonna get another good player, boom, boom, and they’re gonna go to the Finals. I believe it. Kobe’s gonna come back, he’s gonna play team ball, and Pau’s gonna play well.”

From that prediction and all the way back to his post-2008 Finals declaration to a depressed, showering, buck naked Kobe, it seems that Ronnie has always been, and forever will be, Lakers Optimist Numero Uno. If only we could all operate in the labyrinth that is Metta’s mind, then perhaps we could all believe so hard in this Lakers team.
 
And maybe we should.
 
Maybe we here at Silver Screen & Roll have been entirely too negative this summer. Maybe we’re just plain wrong. Maybe this team will be alright. Maybe Kobe will come back and be elite. Maybe Pau will surprise us with a resurgent season, with Steve Nash following suit. Maybe defense doesn’t matter as much as mathematics, common sense and thirty years of modern basketball dictates. That’s right kids–Metta got me thinking. He got me thinking long and deep.
 
What would the Lakers have to do to become title contenders again? What are the circumstances in which this underrated team of veterans and scrappers would be able to compete for the franchise’s 17th title?
 
Let’s get our positivity snapback caps on, Silver Screen & Rollers. How could these Lakers become NBA Finalists?
 

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