Thursday, May 3, 2007

Big Changes Needed for Lakers

A ho-hum exit for the L.A Lakers last night, losing 119-110 to their burgeoning (and vastly superior) rival Phoenix. Series done in 5 games, no surprise. After all, for all the hoopla and national TV coverage and extra attention the Lakers get, don't forget that this was a 42 win team. Kobe played most of the year in the rarified air he alone can inhabit and only missed 5 games. Phil Jackson remains a titan in the coaching ranks. Great arena and facilities, great owner, great fan support, hefty payroll. So whats the problem? Why are they a .500 club and first round washout?

It's easy to point the finger at Kobe and he certainly deserves some of the blame. The best player in the league has a unique way of rubbing his teamates the wrong way; his competetive fire resmbles the great Michael Jordan, but his tightly-wound demeanor and hyper-sensitivity make him come off as not as cool of a guy as MJ and not nearly the natural leader. However, Kobe to me is the least culpible for the mediocrity in Los Angeles; what else could the guy reall do. Lamar Odom, for all the talent and all the hype, is not the All-Star caliber player that many claim him to be. He is simply too incosistent; All-Stars don't dissapear every 4 games. But he is a very good player, certainly capable of being a marquee player on a championship team.

But the real problem with the Lakers lies in their complimentary parts. Having Phil and Kobe associated with these guys is like having a world class chef working Taco Bell's ingredients; it's insulting to us and them and it is disgusting. Luke Walton, though a nice player, is a 6th man, not the 3rd man he masquerades as on the Lakers. Andrew Bynum? Great potential no doubt, but call me in two years when he's ready to play a consistent role. Smush Parker WILL be out of the NBA VERY soon. Jordan Farmar is the Kevin Federline of the NBA: a lot of flash, a lot of swagger, a few nice moments (hey, Britney was still A-list when K-Fed snagged her), but at the end of the day he is simply posing as a legitimate NBA player. And the rest of the motley crew? Lets play a little word association: Brian Cook-Soft, Chris Mihm-White Stiff, Vladamir Radmonovich-Imbosil, Ronny Turiaf-A lot of Hair and not much game, Shammond Williams-Pudgy, Kwame Brown-Clueless, Sasha Vujajic-No Talent.

The Bottom Line: Somebody PLEASE give Phil Jackson a medal for actually making these scrubs look decent at times this year. And maybe a few rolaids tablets and a couple of weeks in the Carribean to make him forget that he, the greatest coach of his generation, actually coached them.

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