The Lakers are making a remarkably intrepid climb up the steep Western Conference standings, mutilating team after team, and playing better than ever. YES, they did lose to the Celtics, and NO, they are not number one. But today's Lakers squad is a portrait painted quite differently from last season, when the only consistent force on the team was Kobe Bryant, with his bad ass skills but jacked up attitude. Picture a high definition, brightly hued face of Kobe centered on a canvas, with a radiant halo of glory...and fade to black all around, the rest of the team disjointed and hopeless there in his enormous shadow. But in the last few months, new faces have emerged around KB's to join him in the revelry.

Everyone is contributing, and as a Laker fan it feels good to cheer for the ENTIRE team. It feels good to witness a team that is working their asses off to reestablish themselves as a unit, to see a brotherhood budding between the guys. Win or lose, that is what is most rewarding.

But my point here is that Trevor Ariza is fine. The newest addition fits right in with the team and Phil Jackson's coaching philosophy. Just look at him. Not only does he look amazing in short shorts, his athletic ability is so hot such a notable factor in the Lakers' recent victories. Sorry Mo & B. Cook, but this tall chunk of UCLA man chocolate was the best trade everrrr.

Oh and one more thing...

(Photo credit: ESPN)

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