That was a nice win that the Los Angeles Lakers had against a team that, quite frankly, is worse than they are record-wise, the Charlotte Bobcats, this past Saturday.
The 88-85 triumph was their first since Kobe Bryant‘s return after three losses. However…
It doesn’t change the fact that these Lakers have been an illustration of futility since Bryant returned from his Achilles’ tendon tear on December 8, losing to Toronto, Phoenix and Oklahoma City before getting a close win in Charlotte.
It’s certainly hard to win without a point guard, as L.A. is currently without one due to injuries to all three of their number ones on their roster, including Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash, who – to be brutally honest – really should retire as the soon-to-be 40-year old has been ailing with various physical issues for the past season-plus.
Nash has been a great point guard, one of the all-time greats who is virtually guaranteed to go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
Yes, he joined the Lakers in order to win something he’s never won, a championship, but (being brutally honest again) this team won’t even come close to getting a title, not this year or in the next few years.
But that’s not what I wanted to focus on here…
I apologize in advance if this sounds like I’m picking on him or putting all of the blame for the Lakers’ 11-12 futility on this man, but Pau Gasol seems to have become a symbol for the team’s malaise.
Not only is he coming off the worst season of his career as far as points-per-game average (13.7), no only is his 42% shooting percentage his lifetime worst;
He hasn’t been the force that coach Mike Dantoni desperately needs for the Lakers to have ANY chance at a good season.
To put it simply, Gasol does not fit in Dantoni’s offense, and it has showed again and again this year as well as last year; ever since Dantoni became the Lakers’ coach, actually.
Actually, I never thought that Gasol was all that great as I have always felt that although he’s been wonderful for the community with his various charities and appearances, the seven-foot Spaniard was a bit overrated on the court.
Sure, he’s had some great seasons as he’s been to four all-star games and helped L.A to two NBA titles, and he’s served very well as a compliment to Kobe as he’s averaged as much as 20 points and 11 rebounds per contest in the league.
In other words, Gasol has been brilliant in his role during his six years-plus as a Laker, but…
I can’t help remembering his being pushed around in the paint during the 2009 finals against Boston, leading some to call him soft; Gasol has never been the kind of banger on the boards that teams need during the post-season.
What it all comes down to is this question:
SHOULD THE LAKERS TRADE GASOL?
Because of his being the square peg in Dantoni’s round hole on the court, I will go on record as officially saying…
For Gasol’s sake as much as anything else.
If L.A. could get someone of equal value who would fit in the team’s offensive scheme better, then MAYBE they could accomplish something and could even be contenders.
Because what they have now, with the injuries and the lack of depth, will result in a .500 season – 41-41 – at best.
I recall writing that these Lakers need to rebuild, not reload as they have always have done.
After one-fourth of the season, I still feel that way.
And one more thing; in a message to all those Laker fans out there:
If you have any fantasies of Lebron James or any other superstar free agent wearing purple and gold this time next year, you better dump that fantasy right now, because it ain’t gonna happen.
In order to return to their prominence and glory, this Lakers franchise needs to build from within, draft quality players and perhaps not be contenders for a couple of years.
In short, suffer a little short-term pain in order to get long-term gain.
Whether owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak agrees with me on this isn’t relevant; that’s what needs to be done.