Looking Back In The Past: Lakers 2010 Championship


Five years ago on this very day, June 17 – the Los Angeles Lakers captured their illustrious 16th championship in franchise history after defeating the Boston Celtics in a grueling seven game series.

As we start preparing for both the NBA Draft and free agency, I wanted to take the time to reflect on Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, what happened to the roster that was on that team and where the franchise is headed now towards the future.

If we all remember that grueling Game 7, then we must remember the hole the Lakers’ had to dig themselves out of in the third quarter. With 8:23 left in the third, the Celtics held a comfortable 13 point lead and seemed to be playing with a higher sense of urgency than our beloved hometown team.

However, the Lakers showed the composure and resilience they had showed all season as defending champions and quickly grinding to cut the deficit. And with 6:11 left in the fourth, Derek Fisher tied it at 64-64 and the Lakers never looked back from there.

My favorite thing about Game 7 was that everyone contributed somehow throughout that game to summarize what the Lakers’ had done all season – play as a team. Im talking about Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant (of course) and even Sasha Vujacic, who for those who don’t remember – made two clutch free throws with 11.7 seconds left when the Lakers lead was cut to only two points.

As great as Game 7 and that entire 2010 season was (ending in triumph, of course), it has sadly been the last time the Lakers won a championship and have not been back in the finals since.

Lets take a look back at what happened after the team captured that 16th championship in franchise history.

In the 2010-11 season, the Lakers would have a great regular season (57-25) but ultimately fall short at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks (who would go on and win the title) in a second round sweep that would end the career of the Zen master himself, Phil Jackson – who was swept in the playoffs for the first and only time in his illustrious career.

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The following year, what changed the dynamic of the team’s roster (and really the season) was then-NBA Commissioner David Stern’s decision to veto the Chris Paul trade that would have sent reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol packing. After the trade didn’t happen, Odom would hold out until ultimately being traded to Dallas (which we all know how that turned out) and Gasol never really played at the same high level ever since then.

Prior to the 2012-13 season, the team would trade for former two-time MVP, Steve Nash, followed by sending Bynum packing in a four-team blockbuster trade deal for the three-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight Howard; who both seemed to be the missing pieces to bringing a championship back to the city of Los Angeles. Boy, were we wrong..

After Mike Brown replaced Jackson in 2012 as head coach of the team, Brown would end up getting fired five games into the 2012-13 season after starting off the season 1-4. Then began the (…wait for it) Mike D’Antoni era – that wouldn’t end up so great either.

With D’Antoni as head coach, the Lakers struggled throughout the season to find any sort of identity as most players on the roster would end up going down with injuries. Howard, who preferred Phil Jackson to replace Brown than D’Antoni, never got on the same page with superstar Kobe Bryant and coach D’Antoni’s system – He would end up walking in free agency the following summer to the Houston Rockets.

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  • Gasol, whose numbers seemed to plummet more every season following the 2010 championship, never seemed to fit in with D’Antoni’s high-powered offense and would be tormented with trade rumors for three straight seasons (2012-14) until ultimately choosing to walk away in free agency as well after the 2014 season.

    Bryant, who surprisingly we haven’t talked about so much, would go down against the Golden State Warriors with a torn achilles after trying to desperately sneak the team into the playoffs (which they ultimately did) with two games remaining. That would be the first of three consecutive season-ending injuries for Bryant, who is set to return for his 20th season, which may be his last according to Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak.

    After the team got bounced out in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs (swept by the San Antonio Spurs), the Lakers have failed to make it back into the playoffs ever since.

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    The 2013-14 season was horrendous for Los Angeles, as the team ended up with a brutal 27-55 record; followed by a 21-61 record in 2014-15, which would set a franchise record for the worst record in the franchise’s 67-year tenure.

    Although it hasn’t been pretty since becoming champions five years ago today, the Lakers do seem to be headed in the right direction with three picks in the NBA Draft and $23 million dollars in cap space for free agency once it begins July 1.

    And as much as its been hard watching our beloved Lakers the past few seasons, I know the fans are looking forward to seeing what the future holds as the franchise turns the page into a new era. The worst is behind us now, and the only way to go is up as we continue the rebuilding process to get back to contention for an NBA championship.

    Here’s to the fifth year anniversary of our 16th championship – and let us never stop rooting for the purple and gold.

    Next: 2016 NBA Championship Odds: Lakers Doubted By Vegas