I’m gonna put this in the nicest way possible. The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t close to anyone within their conference that matters.
Before you go killing me as a writer hear me out. I am neither a Laker fan, NBA expert, or someone who is just piling on with the rest. I am someone who merely watched and saw a Lakers team that is out of sync, out of touch, and quite frankly a bit timid from players that shouldn’t have been.
I’ll start with the stars of this team. First order of business if I’m the general manager is doing everything possible to maximize the value of Andrew Bynum right now. I know he’s young, I know he’s talented, but if you could pick up a top-flight center (Dwight Howard is a possibility) then why wouldn’t you? He’s better, and knows how to adequately take over a game without taking a night off because of his mood.
Next, Pau Gasol isn’t a fit for what Mike Brown wants to do. He’s not physical enough to carry the load like other big men in the league and quite frankly needs to be moved someplace he can be that secondary guy and not the depended upon seven-footer. I like Pau as a player, but for those grilling Kobe on that game-four implosion at home (yes I know they blew a 13-point lead) when afterwards he stated Gasol can’t look to pass in that situation I dare anyone to look back at the tape when they were tied and tell me Gasol shouldn’t have popped an open look instead of passing across the middle (where it was subsequently stolen).
Kobe Bryant, as great a player as he is, isn’t without fault. I don’t know the reasons he had for taking bad looks and chucking shots up as if he didn’t know any better. Some contest he’s done it his whole career; I contest that if that were true we would be talking about Kobe like Allen Iverson and not a top-10 player all-time. Whatever the case, he needs to change his ways and realize he is no longer a number one option. I know how I will be perceived for saying that but it’s true. At this stage, Kobe should realize that scoring 20 a game is still a good thing. Especially if he’s serious about winning titles. He is going to have to defer, without question, no discussion, period.
I look at the Lakers as a team that needs a new identity. While Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and even the Clippers have an identity, the Lakers were a three seed that looked like they didn’t want anything to do with extra basketball this season. Mike Brown took a lot of heat for his first season but consider this, given the correct personnel to run his system do you think he can be better? Don’t mind the fact he was dealing with a lockout, replacing a legend, and babysitting some of the most eclectic personalities in sports this season. He still guided them to a number three seed in the West. Give the guy some credit.
Los Angeles will be a top-three team again next season. I have no doubt about that. They are too talented and resourceful not to be. Will they be in on some of the top names this offseason (Deron Williams? Howard?)? Possibly, but it will be interesting to see if they look at this team as one that can do it, or sees what the rest of us sees and makes changes that give Mike Brown a shot at coaching with the personnel needed to fully utilize his system and style of play.