January 9, 2013
So here we are, still talking about the Los Angeles Lakers and how they continue to be in complete disarray. Reports and rumors continue to filter out about the best soap opera in the NBA. Everything has been reported, from center Dwight Howard and guard Kobe Bryant allegedly fighting each other in the locker room, to the normal trade rumors involving forward Pau Gasol. Regardless of what is on the rumor mill, there is one important fact, which is the Lakers are a mess. The Lake Show is sitting at 15-19(11th place in the rugged Western Conference)after losing to the Houston Rockets 125-112 Tuesday night in Houston. Games Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs and Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder are on the horizon, and the Lakers are without Howard and Gasol for at least the next week. Even with those two in the line-up, the Lakers’ defense has been non-existent. The team, as Bryant said last week and I’ve been saying for a while, is old and slow and I don’t see it getting any better because you still have the same old and slow players, and you still have Mike D’Antoni as the head coach. The bottom line is things are going to have to change if the Lakers are going to see these investments pay off like they want to. More on that in a minute, but let’s talk about the future for now. The biggest part of that future is Howard, just for the simple fact he’s in the prime of his career and the Lakers need to figure out a way to keep this man in their uniform. Howard will become a free-agent in the summer and I personally don’t think he’ll stay in Los Angeles. The team around him is, well, old. Nash is at the end of his career, Bryant is pondering retirement in the next two years, and Gasol and Metta World peace are aging players. If the Lakers are going to stay competitive in the future, they have to find a way to keep Howard. That way, you still have a man you can build the team around. If not, you might want to get used to hearing these words: The Lakers are a lottery team. We all know the Lakers are all about landing the big free-agents and making the splash trades. If they don’t keep Howard, the franchise will have choice but to build through the draft. Back to some of these changes I was talking about earlier, I said things have to change if the Lakers are going to get the most out of their investments. I don’t think they’re going to get that change with D’Antoni as the coach. This team need a leader of men because their are too many egos on the roster. You need a coach that demands the respect of the players, someone like, I don’t know, Phil Jackson. D’Antoni has never been close to a leader of men. In fact, he’s not even a good coach. Therefore, I’m going to say something that probably won’t happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. It wouldn’t shock me if D’Antoni got fired by the time the All-Star Break arrives, and the Lakers make a serious push at Jackson to help safe this season and the franchise as a whole. I think that would be the best thing because not only would you have a coach that can lead, you increase the chances of keeping Howard in a Lakers uniform. I was one of those who didn’t like the hiring of D’Antoni, and the results we see in front of us is why. These results won’t change as long as D’Antoni is coach. Another change that I think needs to happen is a change in ownership. Jim Buss just doesn’t seem to get it. Good businessman, but probably shouldn’t be running a professional team. As long as these two men are still in the equation, I see things getting worse before they get better, and Lakers fans might be outnumbered by, dare I say it, Clippers fans very soon.
By Charles Taylor