“Lakers Basketball-All Time Low”
This is not what we expected. I will expect something more very shortly.
Kobe Bryant’s farewell season in the NBA has turned into a farewell funeral. Thank you LA Lakers Thank you Jim Buss. Thank you Jeannie Buss. Thank you Mitch Kupchack.
The final memories I will have of the guy who wore #8-#24 in Purple and Gold, will be him hoisting up tons of shots in losing efforts. He being hugged by players on opposing teams after each game. Some mid-court presentations of momentos in the various arenas he has played in. Him packed with ice on his shoulder and both knees.
I will also remember him sitting on the bench laughing, and his teammates joking in the midst of 4th quarter blowouts at home and on the road, as if they had no cares at all. Getting bombed, no problem, because I still get to pick up my paychecks on the 1st and 15th.
The proud franchise that Jerry Buss left behind is burning to the ground. Daughter Jeannie, a business whiz, has not been able to stop the free fall. I assume shortly the club will start to feel a financial pinch shortly from all these bad years of basketball.
Rebuilding is painful, and growing Julius Randle, the power forward, and DeAngelo Russell, the young guard takes time. The rest of the roster resembles something from a D-League team.
General Manager Mitch Kupchack has been victimized by deals gone awry. The price they paid to get Steve Nash of the Suns, multiple lst round picks, blew up in their face, when his back gave out and he broke a leg. The Dwight Howard rental proved disastrous.
Years and years of drafting very late in the first round caught up to them too, with most of their picks failing badly. Maybe adding another piece, this June’s high lottery pick, will help put the club in a better direction. When the last impact player you drafted was Derek Fisher, and that was alot of three point shots ago, your franchise has problems.
But the Lakers are no longer a destination point in the NBA. Free agents are going there any longer, because there is nothing of awesome talent for a Kevin Durant or the likes to join.
The coaching carousel is equally pitiful. Byron Scott, hired on his Lakers past, has brought nothing to the team. Neither did Mike D’Antoni, Mike Brown, Rudy Tomjanovich or others of late.
Think about this. The Lakers are worse now than the Sacramento Kings, a perennial doormat in the NBA Pacific Division. Think about the talent level of the Golden State Warriors, and then laugh-or-cry, when you try to compare the Lakers roster to Golden State’s.
Maybe it was destined to be this way. The once-upon-a time Boston Celtics fell on very hard times. The New York Knicks are down, and have yet to get up, despite the arrival of Phil Jackson. You saw what the Chicago Bulls became when the Air Jordan era was over.
The cycle, the whirlpool, takes you to the bottom, and it’s a long way back to the top.
The Buss family says it will not sell the team. But watch as the fans start to drift away. The franchise is no longer what it was forever, something special.
Blame game? Probably a whole bunch of people.
The falling out of the relationship of Phil Jackson hurt this franchise immensely. The bad player decisions followed.
The Kobe Bryant-Shaq O’Neal feud plunged the team downward. It has never recovered since, not with trades, draft picks or random ventures into free agency.
The housecleaning has to begin shortly. Start at the top. Playboy-owner-President Jim Buss has overseen this mess. He has mandated and dictated this enterprise for the last three seasons.
Once upon a time you’d stand on the Lakers practice court and look up to the executive offices, and see 5-NBA trophies. The aura-the era of Magic and Kareem, Wilt and West and Baylor, Kobe and Shaq is over.
It will be a sad day shortly when Kobe plays his final game, next week. It will be even sadder knowing the franchise will be worse off the day he leaves.
They ought to hand a sign on the wall that reads “68-178”.
That’s the Lakers composite record the last three seasons. No one expected this. I expect something else now.
Jim Buss, I expect your resignation on my desk, tomorrow morning. Your era-of-error should be over too.