This has been one interesting season for the Lakers. Started at terrific, as an extension of the prior postseason, but after the 15-1, start with speculation of surpassing the 72-10 mark of the Bulls, the free-flowing Lakers decided to slow things down a bit and started to be mediocre. They lost games to GS, Chicago, Memphis, and other bad teams. Some were because of injury/suspension, but still unexcusable.
Shaq got into a "fight" with Brad Miller and got suspended, which resulted in a few losses. What was supposed to be a perfect season became a mediocre one for the Lakers, but they said that they could just make it kick in and be good, which means that they are either wrong, or just did not want to try in the race toward the postseason. They lost a few games during that stretch, while Sacramento stayed strong.
When the postseason rolled around, the Lakers were the second-best and because of the rules regarding seeding, were placed into third. They faced off against Portland and had some tough games but still swept them. Against San Antonio, they had that come back game where Kobe took over and pushed the Lakers to victory. In this series, the Lakers ended their home postseason winning streak, and won the series. The Sacramento series was one that was the best in a while. It took seven games, and many lucky shots(see game 4), but the Lakers won out. Every minute was exciting, and this series exposed the Lakers "weaknesses." The Lakers started out strong in game one, and paved the way for a sweep, but then let the game go in game 2, and it went back and forth from there. Shaq became more agressive during the later part of the series, and helped the Lakers win. The Finals were a yawn, and Shaq pushed his way to Finals MVP and another title.
The draft was successful for the Lakers, because they got Kareem Rush, who is talented and is a good-sized 2. The consensus is that the 02-03 title is pretty much theirs for the taking, which should lead to a fight at the bottom, but the Lakers triumphant.