What was Mike Brown, Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, thinking of when he said that the Lakers were “ahead of schedule”? Ahead of what? Is he watching the games his teams are playing? Was he referring to a friend who is coaching a local 45 and older league back in his hometown? Does he actually know something that we don’t? It is almost an insult to me as a sports fan. Now, I don’t claim to be the sharpest pencil in the box, but I do know that when you start out the NBA Preseason 0-8, you cannot be anywhere near where you want or need to be.
I think the bottom line here is the Lakers are not going to be the title contending team they are used to being. Every team that is lucky enough to be called a storied franchise, such as the Lakers, has its valley’s along the way. When they drafted Magic Johnson and paired him with Kareem, it started a decade plus of dominance that produced 5 World Championships in the ‘80’s. When that ride was over in the early ‘90’s, there was a valley of mediocrity that ensued until they drafted Kobe Bryant straight out of high school in ’96. His skills were raw and undeniable. When the Lakers paired him with Shaquille O’Neal it formed another dominating duo that won 3 straight NBA titles (2000-02). Even after their much publicized break-up, Kobe was still able to win back-to-back again at the end of the decade (2009-10)
Now, fast forward to this year’s Lakers team. We are going to see the start of another valley for the Lakers. It reminds me of the New York Yankees last season. They have a lot of high priced talent, but age is ultimately going to be the major factor for this team moving forward. These old warriors will be logging tons of minutes, not because they want to, but out of necessity. Why, because the Lakers have no bench. Outside of Center Dwight Howard, 26, every other play on the squad is 30+. Steve Nash (38) is going to be collecting Social Security by the end of this season. The star of the show, Kobe Bryant (34), will be out till the start of the regular season. How can you gain any continuity as a team when everyone is out nursing injuries? If the goal is to be a team on the outside looking in, then Mr. Brown, you are correct, sir.