The Los Angeles Lakers once again find themselves with an unimpressive record as they approach the halfway point of the NBA season.
Just like last year, the purple and gold showed some promise to open the season. They started the year at 5-5, showing some fight against some of the top teams in the league. Unfortunately, just like past years injuries and inconsistency led to the team hitting rock bottom.
Since dropping to the depths of the Western Conference there’s been a lot of noise around the team. From LaVar Ball comments about the team, fans calling to move on from players and Luke Walton, to the inevitable trade rumors that surface, it’s hard to tune all of it out.
Regardless of the names of the players on the trade block, a message has been sent to the team and its fans: “We are keeping this roster in limbo for at least one more season.” At some point, this has to have some relation to the Lakers consistently being in the NBA’s gutter.
When looking at the top teams in the NBA, they all have one thing in common: Consistency. Each team emphasizes stability in various aspects of their organization, something the Lakers have lacked for several seasons.
The examples set at the top of the Western Conference by the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors show the strength of a sound foundation of ownership, head coach and core players. During each Lakers’ championship dynasty, they built on these same exact things.
Now, let’s look at the current state of the purple and gold. In the middle of last season the Lakers hired Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson, then proceeded to trade a piece of their young core in D’Angelo Russell, and have kept their team in flux by chasing star free agents.
The pursuit of these elusive superstars has forced the Lakers to sign free agents to one-year deals, creating a revolving door in the locker room. The uncertainty has leaked into causing problems for the players, something recently-cut Andrew Bogut called out just a few weeks ago. While most people would like to point out the emotional toll it has had on the team, it has also created issues when it comes to on-court chemistry.
The squad was very reliant on Russell and Lou Williams to create on the offensive end last season. Both players were traded away to create cap space, and to help further the journey of chasing an All-Star. With two significant pieces of the Lakers’ offense being shipped away, a void was created on that end of the floor. Having the 28th-ranked offense at 101.3 points per 100 possessions is evidence of this.
While Los Angeles has worked to replace that production with offensive players like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brook Lopez, fans have had to see their team endure another season where players need to relearn an offensive scheme and teammates’ tendencies.
When looking at other teams across the league that has had sustained success, you don’t see the kind of turnover the Lakers have had.
The Spurs relied on Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker; the Warriors put together a core of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green; and even the Lakers kept Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher together, then Kobe, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom during their championships runs.
While you can point out that the supporting cast for these teams changed over time, I will choose to point out that these organizations created well-defined roles that allowed new players to blend in with each group seamlessly.
With the Spurs you had Bruce Bowen as their three-and-D player for years, but when it was time for them to move on from Bowen they added Danny Green to slide into his role. The Warriors won their first championship with Bogut playing center, but when having to let him go to make room for Durant, they replaced Bogut with Zaza Pachulia
During the Lakers’ three-peat, they had a different starting power forward every year. Looking at the last two championships, the Lakers won one title with Trevor Ariza, then signed Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) to replace him to beat the hated Boston Celtics.
Another year of instability has been challenging to watch at times, and if the lack of long-term commitment to the current roster turns into another empty summer, it will have been a steep price to pay. If the front office is able to keep this young core together, identify roles that make sense long term, and allow them to develop chemistry, the future in Los Angeles can be a bright one.
Source : https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2018/1/10/16871820/la-lakers-magic-johnson-rob-pelinka-front-office1098