I saw a few articles and comments saying that this signals the end of an era for the LA Lakers. That is time for them to rebuild. After back-to-back exits in the second round where they have been thoroughly outplayed … that their squad with Kobe Bryant as a leading figure is finished.
I disagree. I don’t think the Lakers are finished.
They can still be a Championship caliber team for a few more years (while Kobe is still a high end player). They just need to make some changes to their roster.
- Starting with the Pau Gasol + Andrew Bynum problem. These two have struggled to operate at full capacity while playing together every year that they have been together in LA. It’s not working. They want the same spots on the floor offensively and one’s involvement offensively keeps coming at the expense of the other. LA needs to make a change and re-balance it’s squad.
- They need to continue addressing their lack of quickness and athleticism on the perimeter. They made a nice start to that by acquiring Ramon Sessions. They need to re-sign him this summer.
- Pau Gasol was forced into the floor-spacer role as their sole jump-shooting big man for much of this season. That has to change. If Pau Gasol is brought back, LA needs to bring in someone else to fill this role to free Pau up to play in the low post. If Pau is sent packing, this floor spacing big man role needs to be adequately replaced.
- Improve their bench / depth.
My guess is that LA will either (1) trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard, or, (2) Look to move Pau Gasol for a younger star who can bridge the gap between today’s title contender and a future title contender built around that new acquisition + Bynum
Between that type of trade, their MLE and some sage moves in free agency (for minimum contract guys) … the Lakers should be able to rebuild their squad and be back contending for a title next season.
They do need to make some serious changes though. This mix of talent doesn’t have the right balance. If they fail to make those changes; you can expect to see LA lose again in the playoffs next year.