Well, here you have it Lakers fans. Your team is once again out of the playoffs and the Western Conference Semifinals are quickly becoming your kryptonite.
It seems as though next season there are only two certainties with the team—that Kobe Bryant will continue to be the centerpiece and that Jack Nicholson will be courtside.
Andrew Bynum consistently showed his All-Star ability but always remains an injury risk.
An absent Pau Gasol appears at the moment to be an immovable piece with not too many teams having the financial means to take on the 19-million dollar contract of a man who appeared to be taking a vacation from boxing out and dunking.
Ramon Sessions flashed potential at the point guard position but is unsigned beyond the 2012-2013 season.
Los Angeles is a basketball city with a rich tradition that refuses to accept mediocrity. To quote Saturday Night Live’s “Bob and Bill Schwersky’s Superfans,” the expectation is generally a “minimum eight-peat.”
Since the snow-covered moving vans pulled into the Forum back in 1960, the Lakers have reigned as the crown jewel (sorry, LA Kings) of the city. In order to prevent the Lake Show from being cast aside in favor of a younger, livelier Lob City brand, I have devised a few guidelines the Lakers should consider.
1. Give Mike Brown a couple of years– Sure, his hiring went unrecognized by Kobe for nearly a month and his team failed to mesh down the stretch but Phil Jackson’s last hurrah against the Dallas Mavericks will go down as one of the most notorious playoff beat-downs in NBA history. In 2007, Brown coached LeBron James and the Nonexistent Supporting Cast (my future band name) to the NBA Finals and there is no reason he can’t do the same with the Lakers.
2. Make things right with Derek Fisher– Everyone knows Derek Fisher is not the point guard he once was and has never been a piece to build a team around, but his trade gave the Lakers a black eye that they certainly didn’t need in mid-May. If the season ends and he decides to hang up the sneakers, Lakers management needs to do the right thing and reach out to Fisher to silence all the rabble-rousers.
3. Sign Dwight Howard and put him in couples therapy with Kobe- If only NBA signings came with a test drive. On paper, a Kobe Bryant-Dwight Howard dynamic duo (if Dwight even wants to make the trip out West) is a match made in heaven, but personality-wise it has the makings of a battle between two divas. Whatever changes the Lakers decide to make (and they will make changes), they need to be sure to receive an affirmative Kobe face before putting pen to paper.
4. Relax! Didn’t you just come off of back-to-back titles?- Amidst all this post-elimination turmoil, the Lakers are still just two seasons removed from Kobe’s fifth NBA title and one offseason move away from once again hoisting the trophy. No Kobe-led squad will ever imitate the Bobcats. If all else fails, Magic Johnson can just buy the team.